If you’re joining us for the first time this week, this is a perfect post to see the diversity of our reviews, which reflect the interests of our reviewers: Jeskai generally reads through light novels (which means a lot of isekai); Laura sometimes reads isekai, too, but also reads through a lot of manga, both styles typically involving romance and / or being in the shojo genre; Claire pops in with series that are often far better than expected; and Twwk is a mixed bag, as indicated today by reviews of a comedy / action series and an artbook. We hope you find the reviews below enjoyable and enlightening!
The Eminence in Shadow (Vol. 4) • Hi, I’m a Witch, and My Crush Wants Me to Make a Love Potion (Vol. 1) • Kageki Shojo!! (Vol. 6) • The Promised Neverland: Art Book World • The Savior’s Book Café in Another World (Vols. 1-3) • Shortcake Cake (Vol. 2) • The Weakest Tamer Began a Journey to Pick Up Trash (Vol. 1)
Hi, I’m a Witch, and My Crush Wants Me to Make a Love Potion, Manga Vol. 1
I rarely read many stories with witches, but the strong cover love and cute premise of Hi, I’m a Witch, and My Crush Wants Me to Make a Love Potion seemed too cute to pass on! The Good Witch of the Lake, Rose, has been brewing potions to sell to those brave enough to venture to her island. Her latest visitor has her deeply surprised because not only is it her crush, Harij, but he’s also asking her to make him a love potion! Thrilled at the chance to interact with her crush (but also heartbroken at his request), she has him search for the items she needs to make the potion; but as he comes back with each new item, will she be able to control her thumping heart? And what will she do when he eventually (and unexpectedly) shows up with bread and apple butter? This was a very cute read! Rose has to be the sweetest witch I’ve read about, and I thought her absolutely adorable when she is around our hero! Even when he yelled at her, she was just in a daze from how shiny he was and how she was so close to him! Ha! And speaking of, I deeply enjoyed their interactions together! I am very much looking forward to the next volume, because this one was very informative in sharing why Rose lives by herself and when she first fell in love with her crush. I think it will continue to be even more exciting as the series continues, and I can’t wait for volume two to go on preorder! ~ Laura A. Grace
Hi, I’m a Witch, and My Crush Wants Me to Make a Love Potion is published by Yen Press.
The Promised Neverland: Art Book World
I adore art books, and when I review them here, I rarely give them a less-than-splendid evaluation. But even among the throng of wondrous works, The Promised Neverland: Art Book World stands as an exceptional release, and is quite possibly the best art book I’ve ever encountered. As a moderate fan of the series, I found this release dazzling. Demizu’s art is wondrous, and the detail she puts into her illustrations is remarkable. Page after page is filled with detailed and impactful illustrations. These are some of the best anime art pieces I’ve seen, and they fill the book to the brim. Diehard fans of the series may enjoy this work even more, not just to own illustrations they’ve seen in the past, but to encounter a large collection of works from all manner of other releases, including limited editions, drafts, and a few made just for this art book. The works are even indexed, for those whose obsession extends to the minute, and two interviews also find their way into the edition. Truly, a companion to The Promised Neverland worthy of sharing its name. ~ Twwk
The Promised Neverland: Art Book World (hardcover) is published by Viz Media.
The Weakest Tamer Began a Journey to Pick Up Trash, Manga Vol. 1
I think this manga is what they call “moe.” Adorable little girl Ivy lives in a fantasy world where everyone receives magical blessings from the gods—everyone but her, that is. Cast out by her family for being a cursed child, Ivy struggles to make her way in the world, and soon partners up with a slime she dubs Sora. Much cuteness ensues. Curiously, Ivy is reincarnated, but the isekai aspect of the story is so downplayed that it’s not even relevant in this volume. The bit where Ivy’s family mistreats and rejects her (starting at age 5!) feels kind of forced and over-the-top, but otherwise this is a perfectly adequate way to get a shot of cuteness. I anticipate little in the way of interesting plot twists or deep character development, but Weakest Tamer was still plenty enjoyable and I’ll plan to read more. ~ Jeskai
The Weakest Tamer Began a Journey to Pick Up Trash is published by Seven Seas.
The Savior’s Book Café in Another World, Manga Vols. 1-3
When a ball of light calling itself a god appears to Tsukina and says it’s going to send her to be a savior in a fantasy world, she demurs. She’s a thirty-something with a stable job and claims she’s outgrown the desire for isekai adventures. The “god” won’t take no for an answer, and Tsukina receives OP isekai protagonist powers, along with a custom home that doubles as a café. She also obtains permission to be a do-nothing “savior” who lives a quiet, private life that doesn’t involve quests to slay monsters or save the world. Soon after opening her book-filled cafe in the snowy kingdom of Othel, Tsukina’s first visitor arrives: a dashing bookworm who identifies himself as Il—actually Soeil, captain of the kingdom’s knights. You can see where this is going: budding romance, books, food, and a protagonist who reluctantly gets involved with save-the-kingdom-type stuff. An interesting feature of the tale is that Tsukina encounters other saviors the “god” has isekai’d; one is even the main antagonist in the first couple volumes. This was sweet and cute and everything I would hope for in a good fantasy romance manga. Definitely recommend. ~ Jeskai
The Savior’s Book Café in Another World is published by Seven Seas.
Kageki Shojo!!, Manga Vol. 6
The latest English release in this series about young women training for the all-female Kouka Theatre troupes picks up in the middle of the auditions for Romeo & Juliet. It’s Ayaka’s turn to try for the female lead, and she’s feeling the pressure. Lacking in confidence at the best of times, Aya has been falling down the rabbit hole of doubt and self-abasement since the competition began; and although Kaoru’s words in the last volume served as a bit of a check, she’s still spiralling out pretty hard. Meanwhile, Sarasa is uncharacteristically quiet and withdrawn as she prepares her Tybalt—and even more so once the successful candidates are announced. Both girls reflect on formative moments in childhood and high school as they navigate the trial of nerves before them. In Ayaka’s case, memories of her childhood crush and the failure she associated with that chapter of her life suddenly appear to her in a fresh way as she takes the stage; in Sarasa’s, it is we readers who see things differently in light of her recollections, especially her relationships with kabuki actors Akira (her boyfriend) and Kousaburou (??). This volume is replete with emotion of the most genuine kind. Such care has been taken to develop the back stories and personal interactions among the leads that each character’s journey reads as both distinctive and in keeping with her character. This volume’s revelation that even babbling brooks like Sarasa can run deep is particularly well-crafted. As I’ve mentioned before, Kageki Shojo!! is refreshingly rich and free of simplistic tropes, and this volume is proof positive of that. It also brings us to the brink of catching up to the anime series released last summer (whoop!). Can’t wait for the next volume! ~ claire
Kageki Shojo!! is published by Seven Seas.
READ: Kageki Shojo!! Reviews (for manga-only readers): Vol. 0-5
Shortcake Cake, Vol. 2
The wholesomeness continues in Shortcake Cake! I feel this series may just be the perfect blend of drama that isn’t overbearing, but also doesn’t “skimp” on it. (Not that I would have an issue if it did skimp on it because I’m all for that smooth sailing for shojo couples! Ha!) I feel the drama is keeping the story moving forward and making all these characters adorable because this volume picks up right where volume one ended: a confession! However, while Ten tries to wrap her mind around things with Riku and what he said, we meet a new character early on that creates an interesting scenario where for Ten’s wellbeing, Ten and Chiaki pretend to be dating! Despite that Riku, who is my favorite character, is deeply unhappy with this turn of events, I admire how he seemingly took it in stride (for the most part). Chiaki on the other hand has surprised me this volume and nervously excited for what is to come? I appreciate how he is willing to do what he can to support his friends, but I’m not sure how things will unfold. At least this volume definitely confirms that Ten will not put up with anyone trying to hurt her friends or look down upon them (which was a really awesome moment) and is something I look forward to seeing more of as the series progresses! ~ Laura A. Grace
Shortcake Cake is published by VIZ Media.
READ: Shortcake Cake Vol. 1 Review
The Eminence in Shadow, Manga Vol. 4
As noted more than once in volume four of The Eminence in Shadow, Cid’s Shadow Garden organization is neither good nor evil; it walks a different path entirely. So does this volume compared to the earlier ones, and I’m not sure it’s for the better. As Cid confronts the false shadow group’s leader and the school invasion storyline concludes, he’s called away to the sacred city of Lindwurm where a special annual event, the “Goddess’ Trial,” is about to be held. But trouble always seems to follow Cid, and indeed, as he continues to weave together a grand conspiracy in his mind, he’s practically begging for it. Very often, especially at school and particularly in volumes one and two of the series, these situations in which Cid’s imagination is actually reality are full of humor—the kind where I guffawed and laughed out loud. But violent action has carried over from volume three and continued throughout this one, and though there are some slower situations infused with humor, it’s neither as frequent nor as hard-hitting. While I appreciate that the story is moving forward, with the Shadow Garden coming closer to engaging the Diabolos cult, and the supporting characters becoming more involved with Cid and the larger tale, I really miss the laughter. That was what made this series special, and if it doesn’t return soon, I’m afraid The Eminence in Shadow could fall backwards into that ever-growing stack of forgettable fantasy isekai. And given how strongly this series started, what a disappointing fall that would be. ~ Twwk
The Eminence in Shadow (manga) 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 they’re reading—both those recently released as we keep you informed of newly published works, and those older titles that you might find as magical (or in some cases, reprehensible) as we do.