It’s a MARVELous day here at Beneath the Tangles as we review not one, but two Marvel / Shonen Jump crossover manga from Viz Media that are releasing next week! We also have shonen, fantasy, and more to share with you in this week’s reviews!
Fangirl, Vol. 2
For those who haven’t read the first volume of Fangirl, this is the story of Cath, a college freshman and identical twin who is, in secret, a well-known fan-fiction writer for a series of young adult novels. In Volume 2, the story follows Cath and her growing relationship with her roommate’s on-again / off-again “boyfriend” Levi, as well as her strained relationship with her twin sister. The story is well-told and I really appreciate the way the characters interact. The sibling relationship feels genuine, as does the slowly growing bond between Levi and Cath. As someone who has been socially awkward and, frankly, still is, I have seen romantic relationships in college that have grown from personal interactions like this before, with the extrovert pulling the introvert out of their shell, sometimes unwillingly. As the volume progresses, we see Cath’s realization that her roommate never committed to Levi and he was effectively single, and how this leads to some bells going off, making for a cliff-hanger of an ending. Also, I love Gabi Nam‘s art style. It is very expressive and fits so well with the story being told. Overall, I really enjoyed this and look forward to reading Volume 3 when it’s adapted. ~ MDMRN
Fangirl (manga) is published by Viz Media. It releases on June 14th.
READ: Fangirl Review: Vol. 1
Marvel’s Secret Reverse
What happens when you take the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh (Kazuki Takahashi) and ask him to create a comic about Spider-Man and Iron Man? You get Marvel’s Secret Reverse. The story revolves around Tony Stark who runs coincidentally into Peter Parker while on a trip to Japan. What are the odds? They attend a gaming convention and discover that, well, an evil collectible card game card from another planet has taken control of the game manufacturer so that the creature card can suck the life out of humans. So basically, Takahashi takes interesting elements from Yu-Gi-Oh and adds Marvel characters into the mix to create a self-contained, single-volume story. It hits a lot of the same beats as the Yu-Gi-Oh manga, including the “heart of the cards,” family, and the importance of games. Overall, it’s a fun, standalone story about Iron Man and Spider-Man in Japan. If you like these characters and have enjoyed Yu-Gi-Oh, check it out. And if you said yes to only one of those two things, check it out anyway: it’s fun. ~ MDMRN
Marvel’s Secret Reverse (manga) is published by Viz Media. It releases on June 14th.
The Dragon’s Soulmate Is a Mushroom Princess! Vol. 1
After a six-year engagement, (peripherally royal) Prince Philip publicly dumps his fiancée Agnes in favor of his alleged soulmate. Amid the altercation that follows, (seriously royal, second-in-line-for-the-throne) Prince Claude intervenes. Agnes piques Claude’s interest, thanks to her strange power to cause mushrooms to sprout on people around her. Though she determines to abandon noble society and return to her commoner roots, her adoptive family and Claude won’t let that happen. A sweet and fun(gus)ny romance ensues. The two leads are great. I loved the heartwarming relationships between Agnes and her adoptive family (her adoptive father and brother are her biological uncle and cousin). The story also does a fantastic job of depicting Agnes as a victim of psychological abuse (courtesy of her erstwhile fiancé Philip). The narrative convincingly and thoughtfully shows how she was manipulated, belittled, and torn down for years, and what results that had, as well as showing some of the challenges Agnes faces in overcoming Philip’s abuse. On top of fungus puns and delightfully witty dialogue, there are hilarious bits of authorial commentary at the close of each chapter regarding the personality and feelings of the different mushrooms that popped up in that section. This is a wonderful light novel and I totally recommend it. ~ jeskaiangel
The Dragon’s Soulmate Is a Mushroom Princess! is published by Cross Infinite World.
Crimson Prince, Vol. 1
Misremembering what a book is about always makes for an enlightening experience, and this is exactly what happened to me recently when reading Crimson Prince! I thought that the manga was about a vampire, only to discover within the first few pages that our hero is actually a demon prince! How I got that mixed up (especially given the cover!) is a total mystery to me, but I really enjoyed this story nonetheless! Sakura, our hero, has been given a “task” to go to Earth and find the human that has been predicted to wreak more than just absolute havoc on the demon realm, but could wipe it out completely! Finding a new “freedom” on Earth, he sets out to take souls and fulfill his duty as the demon prince. That is, however, until he meets the human girl, Hana, who is unlike any other human he has encountered. This was a very cute story with two likable main leads! I found Sakura to be a compelling hero, while Hana is extremely cute, but with this mysterious air about her as well. The mangaka does such a great job of weaving in brief flashbacks and “strange occurrences” that left me turning the pages quickly. Throw in a potential romance that was completely adorable (including “reverse” gender roles!), and I found myself having a very fun time with this digital shojo! ~ Laura A. Grace
Crimson Prince is published by Yen Press.
I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss! (Manga), Vol. 3
The conclusion of I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss! is here, and I absolutely loved every single moment of it! So well done—it’s already one of my favorites among series-that-deserve-nothing-less-than-five-stars! How everything played out, and the sweetness of certain scenes was so so so good! It definitely kept me on the edge of my seat. I was surprised to learn that there are more light novels in the series, though we only got three manga volumes. I would love to read more and see what happens next, even though I was so very happy with the ending. (Our King here is truly a cinnamon roll character, and those bonus stories only confirm it!) I think one of my favorite parts about the conclusion is the turn of events for the villainess and protagonist. So. Very. Good! Completely chef’s kiss worthy! The internal dialogue, the paneling, the art: it all comes together to deliver such epicness! And not just in this volume: every single page of this manga delivers! This series is definitely joining my all-time favorites! I absolutely love these characters and the originality of this story—so much so, that I’m going to have to come back and read this again! So wonderfully well-written (and well-drawn!). I recommend it highly! ~ Laura A. Grace
I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss is published by Yen Press.
Deadpool Samurai, Vol. 2
As Loki unleashes a resurrected Thanos on Deadpool and his Avengers Samurai Squad, the merc with a mouth must find a way to not only defeat this powerful foe, but also halt the God of Mischief’s plan to destroy Japan. Or does he? This all seems very optimistic of Deadpool, especially when things become doubly difficult in a superhero-sized confrontation. Okay, Deadpool Samurai isn’t really about the action. This is a set-piece that allows Deadpool to interact with shonen manga archetypes and crack otaku jokes panel after panel after panel. I admit, I typically find Deadpool to be an exhausting character, and this remains true of the conclusion to this two-part series. But this doesn’t mean that this manga isn’t an absolute joyride. As a partnership between Shonen Jump and Marvel, I was surprised at how ostentatious the volume is in poking fun at both properties and dropping names and cameos. One particular appearance in an early chapter would have been enough to make the volume for me (in fact, it made my week), yet it only scratched the surface of all the fun content to be had here, page after page, and which really connected with me as a fan of manga and Marvel, if not necessarily Deadpool. By the end though, I’ll admit, he grew on me—and that I did not expect. Deadpool Samurai proved to be one of the most enjoyable limited series in recent memory. Marvel (and Shonen Jump) wins again. ~ Twwk
Deadpool Samurai (manga) is published by Viz Media. It releases on June 14th.
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 they’re 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 FUI (reprinted w/permission)