Zombies, wizards, alien princesses, and rooster superheroes? It’s just another week here on Reader’s Corner. Scroll down to see the eclectic mix of manga we’re reviewing for you in this edition.
Fiancee of the Wizard (Vol. 1) • Formerly, the Fallen Daughter of the Duke (Vol. 1) • A Galaxy Next Door (Vol. 2) • The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague (Vol. 1) • Rooster Fighter (Vol. 1) • Shortcake Cake (Vol. 3) • Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (Vol. 7)
The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague, Manga Vol. 1
I didn’t think there was another josei manga that could exceed the wholesomeness in A Sign of Affection, but I have been proven wrong with the digital manga The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague! I truly don’t even know how to talk about this manga without squealing from excitement and giddiness because it literally is one of the most wholesome manga I’ve read! Himuro, our male hero, is a descendant of the snow woman from Japanese folklore, and as a result, he ends up expressing hishttps://comikey.com/comics/ice-guy-and-his-cool-female-colleague-manga/80/ emotions through blizzards, melting puddles, and snowmen. Although he has a fairly “chill” personality, his emotional “displays” become more prominent when he starts to fall for his cool (but clueless) coworker Fuyutsuki. The more she shows kindness to him, the colder the office gets and the more he falls for her! I absolutely loved this first volume! Literally after every chapter of this episodic story, I would giggle or smile and say, “They are so cute!!” This manga excels at creating all the warm fuzzy feelings, notwithstanding that a blizzard forms if Himuro focuses too hard, or he completely ices over if he gets too nervous. I am so very desperate for Fuyutsuki to see how much he likes her and deeply thankful that her coworkers have asked subtle questions that get her thinking (such as if she will give him chocolate on Valentine’s Day or what she thinks of him). Truly, this manga is so very enjoyable, and I highly recommend it to those who like office romcoms and slow burn romance! ~ Laura A. Grace
The Ice Guy and His Cool Female Colleague is published by Square Enix and is available to read on ComiKey.
Fiancée of the Wizard, Manga Vol. 1
It’s a manga/anime fantasy romance story. Except there’s no actual romance, just the narrative telling us the two leads like each other. The wizard goes out of his way to avoid seeing his so-called “fiancée” for SEVEN YEARS. And when he finally does start coming to see her again, all he does is insult her. And he keeps postponing their wedding to prioritize work. The girl apparently likes the rude wizard, but the story totally fails to convince me why she would feel that way, nor does it explain why she would put up with this jerk for so long. Another shortcoming of this volume is that it progresses through time weirdly quickly (like, 8+ years in one manga volume is a lot), and yet nothing meaningful happens in all that time! This is the garbage fire titled Fiancée of the Wizard. I know I’m not the world’s biggest manga reader, so take this with a grain of salt, but this was seriously the worst manga I’ve read yet. Don’t repeat my mistake by wasting money and time on it. ~ Jeskai
Fiancee of the Wizard is published by Yen Press.
Formerly, the Fallen Daughter of the Duke, Manga Vol. 1
I absolutely love “female villainess” manga, and the new series Formerly, the Fallen Daughter of the Duke does not disappoint! Claire Martino is not your typical “villainess,” even though her story matches plenty of others in which the protagonists are living their “best lives” with loving family and friends, wealth, and prestige. Her life takes a turn when her half-sister (whom she was genuinely close to—at least in Claire’s eyes) lies about her, thus making her a “villainess” to those in her kingdom. Rather than “suffering” in scorn from those around her, she goes to a convent up north. But somewhere in her travels, the lines become unclear between her new reality and past life, because why does her life seem to match the route of an otome game her friend once told her about?! While I confess the “info dumping” at the beginning (and feeling overwhelmed as a result) had me concerned that I might not enjoy it, I appreciated how adventurous Claire’s life is. The subtle magic, her mysterious childhood, and the fleshed out world-building made this story stand out from other manga in this genre. Claire also reminded me of Shirayuki from Snow White with the Red Hair, in that she is not one to let others decide for her and instead makes a life for herself without her past title (or other people’s titles). There was also a great cast of characters (including a female knight!) that I really enjoyed getting to know. I think if you like Snow White with the Red Hair and villainess isekai stories, this is a good one to try! ~ Laura A. Grace
Formerly, the Fallen Daughter of the Duke is published by TokyoPop.
Rooster Fighter, Manga Vol. 1
When the world is in danger from giant demons, who you gonna call to save the day? Superheroes, buff and cocky OP characters with spiky hair, or a rooster? Well, this time it’s the latter, so get ready for a wild ride! This manga is as ridiculous as the cover looks; a rooster standing up to gigantic monsters and taking them out in one hit “One Punch Man”-style. The puns are all over the pages, as this rooster often takes himself more seriously than he should and gets into all sorts of silly trouble. Like when he tries to eat a bug that made him sick, or when he fights a one-eyed sea turtle on the beach. The art has lots of detail, and even though it’s a gag manga, this would certainly make a great anime. I will be back for more! ~ Samuru
Rooster Fighter is published by VIZ Media. Volume one releases on August 16th.
A Galaxy Next Door, Manga Vol. 2
Two volumes in and I am now fully charmed by A Galaxy Next Door and its cast of lovely and warm characters, led by the earnest alien princess–turned–manga assistant, Goshiki, and her now-boyfriend, the kind mangaka, Kuga. With all the surprises involving Goshiki’s background and her unusual power and anatomy out of the way, volume two takes the time to develop the relationship between her and Kuga through a zoo date, the winter holidays, and a follow-up trip. The two are falling for each other quickly, and yet their relationship remains so cute and chaste that it almost makes this old man squee (yes…almost). Part of the reason that the relationship keeps this pure feeling while advancing through the couple’s emotions and words for one another so quickly is because it always involves family. In fact, out of all the lovely confessions and actions by Goshiki and Kuga in these chapters, the greatest is Kuga explaining how he plans to care for both her and his younger siblings always. It’s these moments of tenderness and sacrificial love that remind me that in the right hands, a blend of romantic fufu and familial care can work together to create a series that is as full of “be still my heart” scenes as it is “aww” moments. And I’m further engaged by how the supporting characters aren’t archetypal, a feature which not only makes the story feel more genuine and lovely but also has me guessing what the next major conflict will be. I’ll certainly be looking to the next volume to see how this story progresses. ~ Twwk
A Galaxy Next Door is published by Kodansha.
READ: A Galaxy Next Door Vol. 1 Review
Shortcake Cake, Manga Vol. 3
I’ve already really been enjoying Shortcake Cake, but with this third volume, I am officially hook, line, and sinker! The “love triangle” is underway with feelings on all three sides as Ten and Chiaki continue the dating façade for the sake of Riku’s brother Rei (so he will hopefully leave Ten alone), and Ten and Riku having an amazing moment where Ten begins to view Riku in a way she hasn’t before (aka potentially romantically). Not only do we see Chiaki affirm to Ten that despite Ten’s rejection of Riku’s confession, Riku does still like her, but we also see a new vulnerability in Ten. Thanks to this, Ten can lower her barriers around Riku, and they have this moment where it looks like the #TeamRiku ship could sail here soon. I am all board that ship sailing and have no qualms; as the volume goes on, we see Riku act like an amazing gentleman, and I could not help but get deeply excited that Riku has a chance with Ten. That’s not to say that Chiaki isn’t a gentleman too, because he is! In fact, I’ve really appreciated his “struggle” because it’s obvious he does have feelings for Ten, but he’s thinking of Riku and his feelings. I really respect him for doing what he can to get Riku and Ten together. I can say that from this point forward, I will be desperate to see more sweet Riku and Ten moments like we had in this volume! ~ Laura A. Grace
Shortcake Cake is published by VIZ Media.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Manga Vol. 7
Zombies meet…sci-fi? Zom 100 has played fast and loose with varying genres and conventions as it keeps its zombie apocalypse story fresh; this time, after a chapter that takes the central group of survivors all the way to the north of Japan, that means moving into the world of robotics. I love sci-fi and I adore robot stories, but at first this new mini-arc felt kitschy. After hitting it out of the ballpark volume after volume, the story of Akira and the rest stumbling onto Japanese technology at its best felt like the rest of the story at its worst: meandering, pandering, and filler. But by the end of volume seven, I came to appreciate what Haro Aso has done with these chapters, crafting a story that works as sci-fi and features an endearing new character (and also an awesome zombear). Though these chapters largely exist to give the readers a fun break after the previous tense chapters and cross a few items off the bucket list, they remain an engaging read. That’s the magic of both the incredible artwork by Kotaro Takata and the writing by Aso, who (I discovered through a bonus chapter in this volume) is also the author of Alice in Borderland, another series that takes a standard genre and bends it in a novel way. I hope that like that series, this excellent one will receive an anime adaptation (preferably before the impending zombie apocalypse). ~ Twwk
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is published by Viz Media. Volume six releases on August 16th.
“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.