Reader’s Corner: The Art of Demon Slayer, Wandance (Vol. 4), and Apparently, Disillusioned Adventurers Will Save the World (Vol. 2)

The theme this week for Reader’s Corner is adventure, headlined by two new Demon Slayer works, anticipating the upcoming season (and theatrical screening of its first episode next month). But that shonen giant is also joined by an OP uncle, a spy family, and disillusioned adventurers. Dancing high schoolers and a new GL release round out this week’s review.

Apparently, Disillusioned Adventurers Will Save the World, (Vol. 2)The Art of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no YaibaAssorted Entanglements (Vol. 1) Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba—One-Winged ButterflyMission: Yozakura Family (Vol. 3)Uncle From Another World (Vol. 6)Wandance (Vol. 4)

Uncle From Another World, Manga Vol. 6

If you’re like me and suffering from Uncle From Another World withdrawal as we wait for Netflix to upload new episodes of the anime to their platform (perhaps in two weeks?), volume six of the manga couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s every bit as excellent as previous volumes, full of the deadpan humor and the appropriately sketchy (and sometimes discomforting) art that makes this series so great. These chapters, though, go further than previous ones in turning the tale more toward a full story, both by giving Uncle time and special moments with each of the three love interests (and—surprise, surprise—giving names to heretofore nameless characters!) and bringing the entire fantasy world cast together in one epic action moment. But the laughter is never lost, despite the increasing scenes of romance, and the gaming humor remains in place even amidst fantasy battles. This manga has been at a consistently high level in terms of humor, art, and storytelling from the beginning, but by complicating the storyline and keeping us just as entertained, mangaka Hotondoshindeiru demonstrates his growth as an artist. And I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining him on this hilarious and unexpected journey that he’s created. ~ Twwk

Uncle From Another World is published by Yen Press.

READ: Uncle from Another World Reviews Vol. 1 // Vol. 2 // Vol. 3 // Vol. 4 // Vol. 5

Mission: Yozakura Family, Manga Vol. 3

Does anyone remember that time when football player Marshawn Lynch responded to all the Super Bowl interview questions with “I’m just here so I won’t get fined”? When it comes to Mission: Yozakura Family, I’m just here to see more crazy and life-threatening shenanigans Taiyo will have to go through next. HA! While I think I enjoyed volume two a little more because it had so many funny shenanigans, this was another really good volume! Yes, we had some crazy times such as the president of the toy company PoPoPPo transferring to Taiyo’s school just so he can get closer to Mutsumi. But I felt the latter half of volume three was much darker than the previous volumes and is opening the door to a gradual shift in this series. Taiyo is still enduring crazy training like always; but as he interacts with an organization called the Hinagiku, introduced in this volume, I believe they are going to unknowingly lead him down a dark path of finding out heartbreaking (and upsetting) answers about his family and potentially Mutsumi’s family. I’m desperately hoping the humor of this story will continue to play a large part in this series because it is very much my favorite! Even if it doesn’t, though, I still feel there continues to be something fun and engaging about this series and always find myself wanting to read more. Taiyo’s everyday life in the Yozakura Family is never boring, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next volume’s release to see what happens next! ~ Laura A. Grace

Mission: Yozakura Family is published by VIZ Media.

READ: Mission: Yozakura Family Vol.1 Review

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba—One-Winged Butterfly, Manga

Side stories are, by nature, dependent on their source material, with boring releases often resulting from the flimsiness or generic quality of their parent stories. On the other hand, a strong series like Demon Slayer provides an opportunity to expand on the background of its rich characters and world through such releases, which is precisely what happens with most of the six stories in One-Winged Butterfly, a collection of shorts that are meant to be read after the Swordsmith Village arc (to be animated this spring). There’s a tenderness to these tales (even for the comedic one focusing on Zenitsu and Inosuke’s search for hot springs), each of which is tinged with the heartfelt emotion of the main story. We get those similar feels by spending time with the hashira, who are the focus of this written collection, learning more about their backgrounds and connections to one another, while being reminded (by the presence of characters like Kyojuro in flashback and alternate reality sequences) that not all of them will make it through the conclusion alive. The best story is the titular one featuring the Kocho sisters immediately after their parents’ deaths, showing how they bonded with and helped to transform Gyomei from a stone-cold slayer into the emotional rock he becomes. Theirs is a vivid story, punctuated by three lively and very different characters, and featuring both grief and triumph. That’s an apt description for these side stories (and franchise as a whole), which are a must-read for fans of the series and a nice introduction to it for light novel fans who have only the barest knowledge of Demon Slayer. ~ Twwk

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba—One-Winged Butterfly is published by VIZ Media and releases on February 28th.

Assorted Entanglements, Manga Vol. 1

There’s a violent underpinning to Assorted Entanglements that, in addition to a heavy emphasis on sexual connection in relationships, makes this GL series difficult to embrace. It’s a shame, because office worker (and heavy drinker) Iori and the youthful and kind Minami are cute characters whose difficult pasts—the former’s derived from her own insecurities, and the latter’s in ways out of her control—could allow for a series that balances both humor and seriousness. Instead, Assorted Entanglements provides cute scenes interchanged with violence that’s sometimes meant to jar us and sometimes shown as a joke, but never is taken with the seriousness it deserves. Meanwhile, the deep connection developed between Iori and Minami is based largely on what feels like a superficial “chemistry,” savior complexes, and physical intimacy. Because there’s some heaviness in the series, it’s worrisome that a successful relationship is portrayed in a way that’s not realistic and that violence is sometimes used as a punchline. I can’t recommend this series even to regular readers of GL manga, but do look forward to seeing if future volumes make keep the characters’ lively personalities intact while addressing these concerns. ~ Twwk

Assorted Entanglements is published by Yen Press.

The Art of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Art Book

Since I have devoured all kinds of bonus content on the Demon Slayer franchise, with the latest being The Art of Demon Slayer: Kimetsy no Yaiba, I think it’s probably high time I start reading the manga. Ha! Truly, this new art book from VIZ Media was amazing! From art that has graced the covers of the manga series, to a new manga short, to plenty of commentary from the mangaka, seeing these full-page spreads was awe-inspiring. I’ve always felt that Gotouge has extremely unique character designs, and these pages really put this on full display. Having white backgrounds, against which all you see and focus on are the characters, gave me a much better appreciation for their art. While the art is probably the highlight of this (and I totally confess that I deeply enjoyed seeing the new art pieces!), I loved, loved, loved reading Gotouge’s thoughts on each of the covers and a variety of art pieces included in the Demon Slayer manga! They were so transparent with their struggles, and more often than not, I found myself wishing I could hug the mangaka and say thank you for not giving up on telling this story. I would definitely recommend this to fans of Demon Slayer, regardless of whether you’re like me and haven’t finished the manga series or you have binge-read it multiple times. It really showcases the art and allows getting to know the mangaka on a deeper level than just, “Hey, that’s the creator of Demon Slayer! That’s cool!” Very much an enjoyable read! ~ Laura A. Grace

The Art of Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba is published by VIZ Media.

Wandance, Manga Vol. 4

Through its fourth volume, Wandance remains a dynamic and involving read, but issues from earlier in the series that might have been simply been called into question at that point are now turning into problems. And they start with the titular character. Wanda is lovely, a beacon of light in fact, but she remains an enigma. Does she have any real role in the story other than as a muse for Koboku? Being mysterious and hard to pin down as one thing, but being a MacGuffin is another. And speaking of the main character, Koboku, his dancing is developing so rapidly—as he continues not only to shock everyone around him but competes and does well in event after event, dance-off after dance-off—that I can barely catch my breath. There are so few quiet moments in the series for either him or Wanda that I’m starting to question my earlier evaluation of this series as a character piece. However, the possibility that Wandance can be a work that’s deep and moving remains. It’s demonstrated in this volume by Iori, who gets a chance to grow as a teacher here. He develops through success and failure as he attends to club duties, teaches house dancing to Koboku, and prepares him for the interhigh event. It’s those panels, which are warm and wild (much the like the even higher-energy dance ones), which continue to keep me excited for Wandance with their power, beauty, and forcefulness. But I hope the issues I mentioned are tended to. The preview for volume five seems to indicate otherwise, with Wanda becoming more and more an object of affection (and jealousy) rather than a character with any type of complexity. I hope that prediction is mistaken. ~ Twwk

Wandance is published by Kodansha.

READ: Wandance Reviews Vol. 1 // Vol. 2 // Vol. 3

Apparently, Disillusioned Adventurers Will Save the World, Light Novel Vol. 2

The natural order of things is that the second part of a multi-volume work should exceed the first as it throws off the necessity of introducing characters and bonding them together. But in the world of manga, graphic novels, and light novels, that follow-through often doesn’t occur. Therefore, it’s somewhat unexpected when a series like Apparently, Disillusioned Adventurers Will Save the World proves the original rule, and it’s even more delightful when the second volume is several leaps higher than the first. Shinta Fuji, at least for this volume, tosses aside the discomfort between the “Survivors” party that he worked so hard to establish in the initial volume, continuing a more natural path forward for this group of heroes who in their hearts want to trust others and now, after their first adventure, have developed a strong faith in one another. Volume two allows the group to bond further as they become involved intimately in Nick’s life (despite having a rule to the contrary) when he attempts to throw off the pain of his past with his ex-girlfriend and her unscrupulous party once and for all. There’s magic here between the party members: the author does a wonderful job of creating warm moments for them that make sense in the context of the story while also developing them individually. A more minor thread that also receives resolution is additionally welcome, adding to the depth of the tale—as do other touches, like descriptions of the party’s village, all of which help to create a setting in a genre that depends on such world-building but doesn’t often properly receive it in light novels. The excellence and warmth of volume two bode well for future releases. For certain, this reviewer isn’t disillusioned by what at first glance might be “just another” entry into the fantasy genre. Not at all. ~ Twwk

Apparently, Disillusioned Adventurers Will Save the World is published by Yen Press.

Read: Apparently, Disillusioned Adventurers Will Save the World Vol. 1 Review

“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.

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