Before there was Chainsaw Man, there was Mermaid Rhapsody, Little Sister’s Elder Sister, and Tatsuki Fujimoto other one-shots. We look at another collection of his early manga today, along with series about cute would-be couples, surviving the zombie apocalypse, an assassin charged with killing isekai’d humans for the church, and much more! Hit the links below or scroll right through to read our light novel and manga reviews.
Alice in Borderland (Vol. 5) • The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten (Vol. 4) • Dandadan (Vol. 3) • The Eminence in Shadow (Vol. 6) • The Executioner and Her Way of Life (Vol. 2) • Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible (Vol. 6) • Love’s in Sight! (Vol. 1) • My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected @ comic (Vol. 19) • Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man: 22–26 • Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead (Vol. 9)
My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected @ comic, Manga Vol. 19
The Oregairu light novels, on which this manga is based, are full of poetic and convoluted thoughts and narrations. That’s a huge part of the series’ charm, but it gets to be a bit too much in the final arc, which is more confusing and less romantic and fulfilling than I would wish it to be. The manga, however, is proving itself to be the best version of this series (anime included) for the finale. It keeps the flowery and wistful language while making it clearer, both in wording and in the equally wistful illustrations. Hachiman, Yukino, and Yui’s thoughts about one another all start to come into focus, as do their contemplations about other circumstances, some related to each other, like the wishes they want to grant each other and their motivations regarding prom. This is really a beautiful, thoughtful volume. The artwork is beautiful, and the way Naomichi Io moves back and forth between the main story actions—shopping for Komachi’s birthday, talking to Yukinon’s mom about prom—and the interludes and quiet one-on-one conversations is so smartly done. By doing so, the mangaka increases the emotional tension of these nearly final chapters of the series. He also shows and clearly dialogues out the interactions between characters that were only inferred in the light novel—also smart. This manga continues to be the best way to enjoy the final arc of My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected. ~ Twwk
My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, As I Expected @ comic is published by Yen Press. Volume 19 releases on April 18th.
Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man: 22–26, Manga One Shot
Viz Media has collected a second volume of one shots from Chainsaw Man creator Tatsuki Fujimoto. This second set is a bit more adult than the first, including some more violent moments and some nudity. One other thing about this collection—the four different stories could not be any more different from one another. From siblings drawing each other nude for assignments to mermaids playing piano, the stories really fly into wildly different types of tales. One of the two that were most striking to me was the first, Siren (or Memaid) Rhapsody. This one told the tale of a high school boy who lives near the ocean and plays the piano beautifully…underwater. Every day he goes to the water, dives in, and plays the piano hoping to draw mermaids to him. One day it does, and the story continues from there. It pulls at your heartstrings while also providing some truly horrifying moments, in true Fujimoto fashion. The second that really stuck with me was Nayuta of the Prophecy. It tells the story of a boy and his sister just get by all alone. Except the sister was born with horns, and everywhere they go, people assume that her presence is going to bring about the end of the world! The focus on true familial love is so strong here, and I love it. Since each story is self-contained and very short, I do not want to spoil any of them. If you like Fujimoto’s style of storytelling and can handle a bit of nudity and/or violence, I would definitely recommend checking out this collection. ~ MDMRN
Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man: 22–26 is published by VIZ Media and releases on April 18th.
READ: Tatsuki Fujimoto Before Chainsaw Man: 17-21 Review
The Executioner and Her Way of Life, Manga Vol. 2
When a light novel receives a manga adaptation, the hope is that the story will shine in a way it wasn’t able to in the more visual medium as opposed to the written word. Many recent adaptations have done exactly that (ex. In the Land of Leadale), providing a new way to encounter the story that manages to even offer some improvements on the original. But the manga for The Executioner and Her Way of Life manages no such feat, instead doubling down on the weaknesses of the original text. For instance, the lack of compelling characters carries over from the light novels. Akari is empty. Menou is lifeless. Momo is obnoxious. Adding visuals does nothing to encourage the reader to like the protagonists more as the dangerous train ride concludes and a new menace is found within the city where Menou is delivering Akari to her execution. In fact, the action is moving so quickly that we really don’t get the chance to see any of these young women beyond their surface-level characterizations. The moments when they interact and show their personalities are rushed. The same can be said for the villain reveal, which happens at the drop of a hat without much explanation. Like, what just happened? The only time the volume falls into nice pacing is during a couple of flashbacks that were suitably done. However, they alone aren’t enough to make up for this mess of a volume. The manga for this series is better skipped. ~ Twwk
The Executioner and Her Way of Life is published by Yen Press. It releases on April 18th.
READ: The Executioner and Her Way of Life Vol. 1 Review
Alice in Borderland, Manga Vol. 5
As violent and sadistic as is often is, Alice in Borderland is a relentlessly optimistic series. It’s about finding strength and resolve within yourself and choosing to survive, to move past the mistakes you’ve made and the sins committed against you. The ending to volume four made me fear that volume five might not continue along this path, but mangaka Haro Aso, whose short author notes spread sporadically throughout the volumes are poetic and life-affirming, once again emphasizes this theme as five of the remaining competitors match up against another five, including the King of Clubs. The game they play in this volume is fast-paced and physical, but also thoughtful. I was gripped by the game, and hoped to see the action conclude in this volume, but the proceedings are interrupted by two side stories, something which is becoming more common in the series. It’s a bit frustrating to get to a cliffhanger and then find that the next couple of chapters feature characters you don’t know. However, these smaller stories are fascinating in their own right. Aso is skillful at creating unique, engaging characters who are wrestling with their humanity, and so even these side story characters that may not show up again are interesting to read about. But mostly, I want to see if and how Arisa, Usagi, Kuina, and the others make it through and, indeed, discover the meaning of this entire scenario. ~ Twwk
Alice in Borderland is published by VIZ Media.
Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible, Manga Vol. 6
It’s a lot to ask a boy to go from being virtually unnoticed by everyone in his life outside his immediate family to being adored by a group of friends. And so Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible tactfully pulls back in volume six, allowing Shiraishi to basically interact with Kubo alone after completing his sports day activities with his newfound buddies. And yet, the friends continue to draw near to him, but not so forcefully that they would scare Shiraishi away. Their more subtle cues help feed into this quiet volume, which continues to capture the adorable qualities of the series while smartly focusing on the Kubo and Shiraishi while using their friends to develop kawaii situations. I wasn’t a big fan of Kubo at first (and even less so of the one shot, which is actually a special feature included with this volume, serving as an interesting comparison), but by volume six, I’ve become completely smitten with the leads. This manga is an absolute treasure. ~ Twwk
Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible is published by VIZ Media.
Love’s in Sight!, Manga Vol. 1
Often I find myself deeply looking forward to a certain title because of the romance. And while that is true for Love’s in Sight!, I was completely caught off guard at how this love story is so much more than just “another rom-com.” It centers around a young man with the reputation of being a delinquent, nicknamed “Mori the Black Panther,” whose world flips upside down when he meets Yukiko, a young woman with a vision impairment. He falls in love at first sight and even though she can’t see, she sees how kind-hearted he is underneath the scars he admits to, and she begins to fall for him. This new title from Shonen Jump exceeded my expectations in the best of ways! As I shared, I came for the romance, but I got so much more as it was incredibly eye-opening in seeing Yukiko go through her everyday life as a blind person. It made me realize how many things I take for granted, and I was deeply impacted by how Yukiko faces the world with spunk, hope, and courage. Her blooming relationship with Morio makes this story not only inspiring and thought-provoking but also humorous because Morio is truly a giant softie. He may have a fearful reputation, but his love for Yukiko is so sweet! This is definitely the kind of series I want more of and will be reading the next volume because it challenges the reader and their ideals, while also being a fun read. Highly recommend! ~ Laura A. Grace
Love’s in Sight! is published by VIZ Media. Volume one releases on April 18th.
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Manga Vol. 9
Osakans do everything with gusto! That’s what Shizuka reminds the group of as they encounter particularly strong (and overbearing) zombies upon entrance into that city, where Akira and Kencho seek out their old pal, Takemina. They not only find him but also discover that a market economy where canned food is the currency is flourishing. Well, flourishing for some at least. “Fat cats” run the village-within-a-city from a castle on high. Themes of overbearing work and corporate greed once again are front and center in this volume, which takes a few unexpected twists and turns, even as most of the content is just plain fun—the reunited trio open a bar and much of the action takes place in a casino. But that’s just what has this manga bordering on greatness—it features all the cool action, great artwork, warm camaraderie, and high-energy laughs that readers would want of a shonen series, while imbuing with significant themes that ask us to consider what we truly value in life and to remember that redemption and change is possible. What a fine series (and a similarly-themed yet tonally opposite companion to another Aso manga getting a release right now, the above-reviewed Alice in Borderland)! This volume also ends on a thrilling cliffhanger. Why you do this to us, Viz? Though on a slightly more serious and critical note, there were errors in my digital copy, including the two pages reprinted instead of the proper ones (which were entirely missing) and the misspelling of “Osakan” as “Okasan,” though it is funny to think that “okaasan” zombies are the more savage and unrelenting of them all. ~ Twwk
Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead is published by VIZ Media.
The Eminence in Shadow, Manga Vol. 6
If The Eminence in Shadow were to trend toward the self-serious, it would be dull, unoriginal, and just the next in a line of forgettable isekai. But the humor, which is never more than a panel or two away, helps to build an irreverent tone that fits perfectly in a series about the anti-hero, Cid, who is as powerful as he thinks he is but still remains perfectly clueless in his quest to become the ultimate power broker from the shadows. Volume six continues the tournament at which Cid, dressed as Mundane Man (only the second-best wordplay name in the series right now—you readers and watchers of the series know which number one I refer to!), continues to dominate opponents who are all also appealing in their own right. The series doesn’t dwell on the action, though, giving us just a taste of the fantasy aspects that isekai readers will love without boring us to tears. The penciling and drawings are dynamic and sharp, too, helping to carry the story along quickly and matching the gags, which come at almost a mile a minute. Yes, there’s a story happening here, currently focusing on a conspiracy involving a religious sect and Princess Rose, but it’s really all about the fun in between. What a great ride this has been—and there’s plenty more still on the way! ~ Twwk
The Eminence in Shadow is published by Yen Press. It releases on April 18th.
Dandadan, Manga Vol. 3
Somewhere lurking beneath the surface, there’s a heart to Dandadan. That’s what I’ve been telling myself as I rolled my eyes at the high ecchi content of the first two volumes of the series. But finally, in volume three, mangaka Yukinobu Tatsu hits us hard with a backstory about a mother’s love that is beautiful in its brevity and strength. It shows how seriously great this series could be. But the exuberance of Dandadan—the more regular tone for the manga—is fantastic, too, and is present here in bunches. Humor, action, and teenage silliness are all balled up into one as the volume completes its previous story, introduces a new main character, and reintroduces the aliens in the next. Unfortunately, after largely disappearing in the first act of volume three, the ecchi strikes back hard in the second half. This is a series for boys, so what should I expect, especially with that parental warning on the cover? I guess I expect more because of the quality of the storytelling and illustrating. I really like the main characters and am hopeful for something more than the girls to be sexualized. The sexualization draws away from all the fantastic things now going on in the manga, which appears to now be hitting its stride. Indeed, the first half of volume three demonstrates how this series is even better without the panty shots and occasional nudity (or frequent nudity, when it comes to Okarun, though his is always humorous whereas the girls’ is frequently not). I hope the manga matures past this, but even if it doesn’t, I’m now fully in on this funky, free-for-all series. ~ Twwk
Dandadan is published by VIZ Media.
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten, Light Novel Vol. 4
Author Saekisan is methodical, having built toward the climax of volume four piece by piece since the first volume. And the last thirty pages of the volume deliver perfectly, proving that he isn’t just jumping from cute event to cute event in the series but is being mindful of how he unfolds his story. That’s not to say that The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten isn’t uneven—it is, particularly in how quickly Amane is coming to trust those around him (even with Mahiru’s influence)—but the ending of volume four is worth the journey. In these chapters, Amane continues to get closer to Mahiru and their circle of friends also grows. The pair are interacting more outside the privacy of Amane’s apartment, leading to their relationship becoming more public. Although some of the scenarios feel staid, most of them are heartwarming and cute as ever. Between the adorable moments shared by Amane and Mahiru and the climax of the book, volume four proves to be an enjoyable read. There was one major note of concern, however—and it’s significant. A printing error caused 30 pages of this volume to be replaced by about the same number of pages from volume seven of Date A Live. This is apparently a common issue for printings of this volume, and even when I received a replacement copy, it still featured the same problem. Thankfully, this portion is mostly animated in the anime series, so I knew what I was generally missing and wasn’t terrifically frustrated, but you may be. Caveat emptor. ~ Twwk
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten 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.