We feature some classic romance titles this week (My Little Monster, Marmalade Boy) to join more modern ones in The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten, which we’ll be reviewing through to its current release, and Boss Bride Days. Our writers also review a number of other works, including one that was almost universally panned by an author who is otherwise celebrated (and who we’ll profile in tomorrow’s International Women’s Day post)—can you guess what manga that is?
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten (Vol. 2) • Boss Bride Days (Vol. 2) • Enough with This Slow Life! I Was Reincarnated as a High Elf and Now I’m Bored (Vol. 1) • Evergreen (Vol. 1) • Marmalade Boy: Collector’s Edition (Vol. 1) • Miss Miyazen Would Love to Get Closer to You (Vol. 3) • My Little Monster (Vol. 1) • Tomb Raider King (Vol. 1) • Villains Are Destined to Die (Vol. 2)
Villains Are Destined to Die, Manhwa Vol. 2
I’ve deeply enjoyed reading more villainess isekai stories in my manga/manhwa reading journey, but there is something special about Villains Are Destined to Die that makes it stand out among the other stories I’ve read. Volume two left me as nervous as ever with the new challenges Penelope faces because now she is preparing to meet two of the other love interests in this otome game. While Penelope was “placing her bets” on Eckels being the love interest to save her from potential death, she soon realizes that she may need a backup plan (and man!)…and this may not be a safe route, either. This series continues to be one of the best villainess stories I’ve read where the heroine is in genuine and real danger. I once again had another instant where my heart dropped to the floor and stopped breathing because I was scared that this moment was going to be Penelope’s last. Thankfully it was not! She continues to be a very strong and admirable heroine who keeps amazing me with how she stands up for herself in spite of her fear and sometimes open hostility from others. I truly don’t know how she can even make half the decisions she does because, sure enough, if I was her, I would lock myself in my bedroom and never ever leave! Ha! Very much looking forward to the next volume because this series continues to be unpredictable, our heroine continues to grow more fierce, and the guys continue to be just as dangerous as ever! ~ Laura A. Grace
Villains Are Destined to Die is published by Ize Press, an imprint of Yen Press.
READ: Villains Are Destined to Die Vol.1 Review
Miss Miyazen Would Love to Get Closer to You, Manga Vol. 3
The more I read of Miss Miyazen Would Love to Get Closer to You, the more I feel that this has to be one of the sweetest shonen romcoms out right now! As Miyazen and Matsubayashi continue their super adorable shenanigans in an effort to get closer to one another, I could not help but squeal and giggle the entire way through this! That has honestly been an ongoing theme for me throughout all the volumes, but I think it might have reached a new level in this one. Ha! In the previous volumes, our main leads were more introspective about their feelings for the other. However, in this volume, Miyazen and Matsubayashi have both taken steps by talking about their crushes with their friends. And it seems that friends are sometimes the push you need in getting even closer, as the end of this volume shows. Well, and kicking off summer with a planned trip with those very friends! The art was fantastic as always, highlighting the cutest blushes on both Miyzan and Matsubayashi. I am so desperate for the next volume, even if at the same time I’m internally yelling how this cannot be the end of this sweet series! Each time I read a volume, it makes my day better, and this volume specifically made my day super better. I continue to highly recommend this series if you enjoy contemporary romances that are slow burn and have great humor woven throughout! ~ Laura A. Grace
Miss Miyazen Would Love to Get Closer to You is published by Vertical Comics.
READ: Miss Miyazen Would Love to Get Closer to You Reviews Vol.1 // Vol. 2
My Little Monster, Manga Vol. 1
No good deed goes unpunished! I’m pretty sure that’s something that Shizuku would utter under her breath. It all started when she is forced to deliver printouts to Haru, and it’s all downhill from there. Shizuku is a grade-obsessed introvert who doesn’t want to get involved with anyone or their problems. Haru is a violent delinquent that wants lots of friends, despite everyone being too afraid to interact with him. I love the back-and-forth we get between these two main characters and seeing Shizuku’s heart of ice start to melt the more that she’s around Haru. I’ve had this volume in and out of my shopping cart for quite some time. The story sounded fun, but I wasn’t really sold on the front cover because I thought it was a bit odd—but now, it all makes sense. It’s actually quite adorable and comes together after I’ve gotten to know these characters. Shizuku, misanthrope that she is, feels chained to this wild animal of a boy now that he’s latched onto her. There is so much character development in this first volume that I cannot wait to see what develops in the volumes to come. Friends are being made and feelings are being expressed. It’s such a joy to see these characters come out of their comfort zones, with Haru getting over his fear of school and Shizuku getting over her fear of caring for others. How refreshing to see a different kind of heroine portrayed in a shojo series. It’s perfect for a fan of romcoms! ~ Marg
My Little Monster is published by Kodansha.
Tomb Raider King, Manga Vol. 1
As far as webnovel-to-manga adaptations go, Tomb Raider King works extremely well. The action is tight, the lines in the art are clear and adjusted nicely to the printed page, and the story progresses well from panel to panel. But evaluated purely in terms of being a manga, your appreciation for the series will only go so far as how willing you are to embrace the selfish, violent protagonist at its center. Seo Joo-Heon is definitely an anti-hero type. Betrayed while hunting down a powerful relic—living manifestations of ancient fables, legends, and myths—he is given a chance to restart his life. Seo is transferred to a time before tombs erupted all over the world and relics became widely known. And he’s out for revenge against his former employer. Yes, it’s a revenge tale, with all that type of story carries with it—the excitement of seeing someone who has suddenly and rapidly growing powers kick butt against bullies and such, and also the dread that comes with enjoying a tale that emphasizes an unloving theme. The comparison will be made to Solo Leveling, which has a similar structure and protagonist, but Seo is both more charismatic than Sung Jinwoo and less kind, dishing out violence and justifying it (like intending to kill a young woman who would be dying in the future anyway) without much thought. There are signs that he may grow beyond this recklessness, and if he does, this series, with its smooth and quick-moving storyline, may be worth continuing. ~ Twwk
Tomb Raider King is published by Ize Press, an imprint of Yen Press.
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten, Light Novel Vol. 2
If you want something gooey sweet that makes you feel all soft and warm inside, then The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten is for you. But if you’re looking for something more compelling beyond that, volume two might leave you frustrated. Amane and Mahiru draw closer in these chapters that take place roughly between New Year’s Eve and White Day, encompassing all the romantic holidays in that span. And by this point, the two might as well be lovers; with their level of intimacy, dependence on and care for one another, and meetings or run-ins with each other’s parents, it feels as if they are in all but name. But the author needs to keep them from becoming official, at least at this point, in order to continue to ramp up the romantic tension. And that feels a little disingenuous and even mechanical as he moves the story from event to event. It’s also often boring to read about two fairly bland leads. My eyes glazed over a number of times as they acted in their staid ways and said their staid lines. But while I find myself dozing off when Amane explains why Mahiru can’t like him for the 100th time, I’m deeply invested in discovering why he describes himself as being unlikable over and over again. Amane ultimately is likable and admirable, and so is Mahiru, which is why, for all its faults, I find myself attracted to the story and will be continuing forward with it to see what happens next in their sugary-sweet relationship. ~ Twwk
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten is published by Yen Press.
READ: The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten Vol.1 Review
Evergreen, Manga Vol. 1
A manga where the protagonist is…an aniblogger? That’s pretty much exactly what Hotaka is as the president of his school’s anime club, pumping out their only product (anthologies of anime-related articles) on a regular basis. But his actual favorite thing to do in club is to stare out the window at the swim team and particularly at Awaya Niki, a beautiful student who seems to be holding onto a mystery related to Hotaka. He also dreams, literally, of being stabbed in the heart—a nightmare that must be related to his father’s death from heart failure ten years earlier and his own open-heart surgery. That’s a lot, but in the hands of Yuyuko Takemiya, who wrote the light novel behind one of the all-time greatest anime series, Toradora, it stays relatively light and fun, with a cast of characters who are already memorable and loveable. So being a longtime aniblogger and a super fan of Toradora, what’s taken me this long to dive into this series, published in English more than a decade ago? Well, it’s not a well-regarded work, apparently taking a turn at some point that killed the series. I’m also reticent because it features certain elements that are reminiscent of Golden Time, another Takemiya series that, while beloved by many, is one I found to be melodramatic and even silly. Thus, I’m wary as I head into the remaining volumes in this short series (four volumes), but at least through volume one, Evergreen is demonstrating amazing potential, a worthy follow-up to Toradora in the making. ~ Twwk
Evergreen is published by Seven Seas Entertainment.
Enough with This Slow Life! I Was Reincarnated as a High Elf and Now I’m Bored, Light Novel Vol. 1
Acer is a former human reborn in a fantasy world as a high elf, fated to live out over one thousand long years. His first century of life was spent in the high elf village, and while it was nice and peaceful, it was also boring as heck, so he heads off to see what the rest of the world has to offer. The title may make you think Acer will go out to fight dangerous monsters or participate in epic wars, but as it turns out, this is very much a “slow life” fantasy isekai after all. Acer spends his time doing stuff like learning blacksmithing or checking out the local cuisine, and while he does get involved in a few conflicts, they tend to be solved without too much issue, as if he is just taking care of another errand. So this feels like another nice, laid-back slice-of-life light novel. There is one aspect that is notable, though: the passage of time is scaled up throughout the book. Oftentimes, months or even years will pass between scenes, which might be jarring for human lifespans, but for a high elf, it basically feels like a couple of weeks. As such, I actually kind of feel like this is what it feels like to live life as a long-lived being, watching as the lives of those around you go by quicker than your own. This aspect definitely has some interesting potential for later volumes, especially with what happens at the end of the volume, so I definitely will be looking forward to more of this series. ~ stardf29
Enough with This Slow Life! I Reincarnated as a High Elf and Now I’m Bored is published by J-Novel Club.
Boss Bride Days, Manga Vol. 2
Volume one of Boss Bride Days was not a one-hit-wonder for this yakuza-themed romance because I loved volume two just as much! Picking right up where volume one ended, Sakura is officially going undercover with Reo as they infiltrate a JK cafe! Not only that, but Sakura even goes undercover with Ryusei as they attempt to discover some shady antics at an illegal casino. If that wasn’t busy–and dangerous–enough, she’s still being asked which guy she fancies and who she thinks she’ll marry! This was definitely another fun volume in this series, even if I was unsure if it would be due to how intense the opening chapters were. Though once again Sakura’s life was on the line, I think she performed bravely in a variety of situations: she was either unexpectedly forced into or “volunteered” for them, but didn’t quite expect them to be so dangerous. Ha! I was very surprised that there was plenty of page time of Reo and Ryusei, as I thought since Reo is on the cover, he would get the focus of this volume. That wasn’t fully true, which was a fun surprise! I found that I really liked Reo and even Ryusei (who had been my least favorite of the three before now), but I’m still feeling pretty strongly #TeamShusuke. Another delightful volume that had me reading way too fast because I was having such a great time! ~ Laura A. Grace
Boss Bride Days is published by Kodansha.
READ: Boss Bride Days Vol.1 Review
Marmalade Boy: Collector’s Edition, Manga Vol. 1
“It’s complicated,” as the back cover of volume one explains. Boy, is it ever. Miki’s parents just dropped a bomb on her—they’re divorcing and cross-marrying with another couple, Miki’s father to the wife and Miki’s mother to the husband. Yikes. And the new couple is moving in along with their handsome teenage son, Yuu. Cue wacky, shoujo shenanigans! Not so fast. Actually, Marmalade Boy isn’t as over-the-top as its setup and the time period (the early 90s, when wacky romance manga were common) would make one believe. Miki and Yuu are pretty normal teenagers in the world of manga—she being earnest and fairly level-headed, if a bit prone to outbursts, and he laid-back (though constantly prodding Miki). Throw in a second boy for a legit love triangle (as well as a surprise romance that caught me completely off guard) and you have the makings of the classic shoujo that Marmalade Boy is. I enjoyed the easy pacing and cute characters and am happy that the story seems to be heading toward a quick resolution (this edition is only two volumes long). But it’s also largely forgettable. Unless it hits hard in the doki-doki department in the second volume, I’m likely to only remember this series by the beautifully colored illustrations, a lovely reminder of the time when Marmalade Boy was released and shoujo was
king queen. ~ Twwk
Marmalade Boy: Collector’s Edition is published by Seven Seas.
“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.
Featured illustration by 和遥キナ (reprinted w/permission)
One thought on “Reader’s Corner: Boss Bride Days, Enough with This Slow Life, and Marmalade Boy”
As someone who has finished the series I’m interested to see what you think of Evergreen as the series continues.