Reader’s Corner: Kaiju No. 8 (Vol. 6), Sunbeams in the Sky (Vol. 1), and I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World (Vol. 2)

Flowers aren’t all that’s blossoming this season. Love is in the air as well! But to bloom, challenges must be overcome, like all those involved with imitating your twin sister at school or with getting through your familiar’s thick skull that you like him or just a simple lack of confidence. Some difficulties, though, may be too much to overcome—and maybe shouldn’t be, like a decades-long age gap or a dystopian society that has replaced your former self with your new self. That latter one is a long story, but an amazing one, as are a number of others this week, though there are a few duds in the group as well. Read on to see what we recommend you pick up and which volumes you’re better off skipping!

After the Rain (Vol. 1)Cinderella Closet (Vol. 1)Evergreen (Vol. 3)I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World and Became Unrivaled in the Real World, Too (Vol. 2)Kaiju No. 8 (Vol. 6)Kowloon Generic Romance (Vol. 3)My Sister, the Cat (Vol. 2)Sugar Apple Fairy Tale (Vol. 1)Sunbeams in the Sky (Vol. 1)Witch Watch (Vol. 5)

My Sister, the Cat, Manga Vol. 2

One of the cutest–if not the cutest–cats is back in a new volume, and could not get enough of the overwhelming cuteness! My Sister, the Cat continues to be an episodic, slice-of-life manga where Nekota, a human, and Neneko, a cat, continue to grow closer as siblings. Through outings together, from getting expensive ice cream to encouraging a new black cat that she is cute too, there are plenty of happy smiles to be found in this story! I really, really, really enjoyed seeing more of this cat and human family! There are plenty of adorable moments, such as Nekota sacrificing his thigh for Nenko to keep kneading biscuits, Nekota wanting to make cute pancakes for Neneko, and Nekota spoiling Neneko in a variety of situations and ways. I also loved Coco-chan, the black cat our siblings meet. She is such a fun addition to this already great cast of characters, and I hope we see her again in volume there! My heart definitely ached for her, though, upon learning how people have said hurtful things about her simply because she is a black cat. I’m so glad that Nekota and Neneko are there to extend their friendship and encourage her because she’s so lovely, inside and out! Overall, another wonderful volume! I really love this sweet family and how they have welcomed a human to be part of their family because the cuteness and the warm fuzzies from this series always leave me happy! ~ Laura A. Grace

My Sister, the Cat is published by Seven Seas.

READ: My Sister, the Cat Review Vol. 1

Kowloon Generic Romance, Manga Vol. 3

In a previous volume of Kowloon Generic Romance, Reika described nostalgia as “love.” In volume three, during another flashback, this same “former” Reika, the one from the past, expounds upon her declaration, further defining nostalgia as “the feeling of wanting to hold something tight to your heart.” That’s a definition that conveys the loveliness that those of us who frequently dwell in nostalgia feel. But there’s something more than happy feelings associated with the word and, particularly in this world, perhaps something sinister. Within Kowloon Walled City, a place that the residents unanimously describe as nostalgic, the fondness for the past, even a past that may not have existed, keeps them from moving forward. Kudou and Reika’s clients are unwilling to leave the city. Kudou is unwilling to accept this new version of Reika, who herself is struggling to come to terms with who she is and to become her “absolute.” That term, too, presses heavily upon this volume as various characters seek this state, including a possible antagonist. It’s all still a conundrum, but although I couldn’t yet tell you quite what’s going on in this series that moves back and forth between neo-noir sci-fi and breezy romance, Kowloon Generic Romance continues to keep me captivated with its flawed but loveable characters and deepening mysteries, along with increasingly emotional content. I’m quite reminded of a favorite film from the 90s, Dark City, but with humor and whimsy mixed in. Kowloon Generic Romance is creative, compelling, and fun. It might be genius, too. ~ Twwk

Kowloon Generic Romance is published by Yen Press.

READ: Kowloon Generic Romance Vol. 2 Review

Sugar Apple Fairy Tale, Manga Vol. 1

I’m unsure if it’s because of high expectations and being told I would love this manga, or if it’s because of a different reason, but I didn’t love Sugar Apple Fairy Tale the way I anticipated. Our heroine, Anne, has recently lost her mother, who was a prestigious Sugar Silver Master, the finest of candy crafters. Anne vows to herself that she too will become a Sugar Silver Master like her mother, but in order to do that, she has to attend the Royal Candy Fair and win the royal medal. Her biggest problem, though, is that she needs to take one of the most dangerous roads to get there in time. While she isn’t fond of the idea, she decides to purchase a warrior fairy to protect her on the journey to fulfill her dreams. While the story world is super interesting because of the fairies, I really struggled with Anne. She is introduced in a way where I can see she cares for fairies and believes they should be as respected as humans are, but then she buys a warrior fairy as a slave a few pages later. I get that it’s because she only needs protection on her trip, but the going back-and-forth between “fairies are our friends” to “I just need him for this one trip” was really bothersome for me. I can’t say I wouldn’t be the same way if I was in her shoes, but it didn’t make me like Anne any better, unfortunately. I think I would like to give this series a “try three,” because I’m hoping Anne will have some character development in the next volume. I did enjoy the humor, the candy-making, and the ending enough that I want to try the next volume. ~ Laura A. Grace

Sugar Apple Fairy Tale is published by Yen Press.

Witch Watch, Manga Vol. 5

Volume five of Witch Watch returns the series to the fun antics that it excels at, with the Otogi household now resembling a high school dorm. The four residents and one frequent guest happen into situations both common (like a date between Moi and Mico) and wild (Moi’s magic changing Kan’s concept of time). Meanwhile, volume five introduces new characters to add to the zaniness, including a “tropetacular” student council and, well, could there be another new resident? There’s definitely some worry that the series is getting overstuffed with main characters, but at least through the first five volumes, Kenta Shinohara has balanced the dynamics between them; each character gets a chance to shine, and their personalities are clear and strong. What you end up with is one of the most fun friend groups in current manga, with some magic dashed in as well. A little adventure is also part of this volume, and while a relatively minor sequence, it’s well done and gives me hope that Witch Watch will be able to incorporate better action and story elements into the daily life parts of the manga, which continue to make this series one worth reading. ~ Twwk

Witch Watch is published by VIZ Media.

READ: Witch Watch Reviews Vol. 1 // Vol. 2 // Vol. 3 // Vol. 4

Cinderella Closet, Manga Vol. 1

I think this might be my favorite read of this month because I loved this new manga from Seven Seas! Haruka has graduated from high school and has these big dreams while being at a university in Tokyo, with one being getting a boyfriend and having her first romance. Even though she’s considered a “plain Jane,” that slowly starts to change when she meets her “fairy godmother,” Hikaru. Could Hikaru help build up her confidence to confess her feelings to a boy she likes at her job? Or will she always feel makeup and fashion are not for her? I decided to take a chance on reading Cinderella Closet even though I was unsure about the makeover aspect of this story. However, it was in fact because of Haruka’s feelings about her makeover that I very much related to her! I haven’t ever been super interested in makeup or fashion; and seeing Haruka wanting to do both for a boy she likes, but feeling it’s too late to do so, reminded me so much of my high school self. I loved her honesty in that she doesn’t know what she’s doing and needs Hikaru’s help, but also genuinely and meaningfully thanks Hikaru for all their help. I also really liked our fairy godmother, Hikaru, whose friendship with Haruka can be surprisingly and brutally honest and frank (which leads to quite a few humorous moments) but also surprisingly caring. I’m earnestly looking forward to volume two and seeing where this story goes next because I am loving this series! ~ Laura A. Grace

Cinderella Closet is published by Seven Seas.

After the Rain, Manga Vol. 1

The two characters at the center of After the Rain—Kondo, a disorganized, divorced, middle-aged manager of a family restaurant, and one of his employee, high schooler and former track star, Tachibana—are compelling. There’s a vitality to both of them; their personalities sparkle and they’re also drawn distinctly—him with realism and character and her with sharp lines that convey her beauty. But together, they don’t make a lot of sense. The anime series for this title was released a number of years ago and led to a lot of conversation about the age difference between the pair (almost 30 years), who in this volume begin to touch on the possibility of a relationship, with Tachibana harboring a crush for the lonely Kondo. What draws her to him? Is it because Tachibana is fulfilling a hole left inside of her when she was forced to leave the track team? Is Kondo a father figure for her? Maybe both, but she doesn’t see it as anything complicated: “Does anyone need a reason to like someone?” That might be the best way to explain her crush at this point, which is otherwise mystifying. But there are signs even in volume one that the “relationship” may not be the point of the story. As rain drizzles down in multiple scenes, offering a number of analogies for what Tachibana and Kondo are going through in their lives, there are other rich themes being expressed as well—beautiful ones, in fact, (fleeting youth, regret, transitions in life, scars, beauty and ugliness underneath our exteriors) that seem rather to be what After the Rain is all about, rather than the May-December romance that appears to be the focus. And for those themes and the loveliness of the artwork, volume one is very much worth the read. ~ Twwk

After the Rain is published by Kodansha.

Kaiju No. 8, Manga Vol. 6

Every time I read a new volume of Kaiju No. 8, I’m always reminded of how deeply I love this series! It never fails to be explosive, while also having a lot of heart! This volume was definitely no exception! As always, it picks right up where the previous volume ended, which means we’re thrust right back into this fight with Kaiju No. 9 and the stress I felt that Kakfa could not transform! Oh my goodness! I had to remind myself time and time again to breathe and that I didn’t need to lean that close to my physical volume because… somehow if I got closer things wouldn’t pan out badly?! Ha! Seriously, though, it was intense! Thankfully, Kikoru was there by his side, and we were even able to see her declaration of why she is protecting everyone, as well as what led Kafka not be able to transform in the first place. I’m glad these two were able to be there for one another, because the fight was just really beginning in this volume—this time Kaiju No. 9 was evolving in battle, which was wild! Narumi really showed how amazing he was, and I even confess that I did come around in liking his character since I didn’t in the previous volume. Truly, everyone was absolutely incredible, and I think I actually slowed down reading this volume just so I could really appreciate how epic everyone looked fighting. That cliffhanger definitely wasn’t epic, though, and has me on edge about whether the battle really is over or if it’s just begun. Hopefully, the release of volume seven will be a short one because I need answers! ~ Laura A. Grace

Kaiju No. 8 is published by Shonen Jump, an imprint of VIZ Media.

READ: Kaiju No. 8 Reviews Vol.1 // Vol. 2 // Vol. 3 // Vol.4 // Vol. 5

Sunbeams in the Sky, Manga Vol. 1

The if-onlys of our lives paralyze us. Like chains stretching into the past, these regrets bind us in the present. We wonder if our lives would have been happier had we followed a different path. For Himari Akeno, it’s a traumatic incident from before high school that’s kept her at home, hiding from the world, dwelling on what could have been—until her twin sister Mio Akeno spontaneously “catches a cold” and begs Himari to take her place. Volume one of Sunbeams in the Sky sets up a bright tale about the simple value of simple kindness. Each of our main leads, Himari included, shows thoughtful care to others in their own ways. And as Himari emerges from her shell and opens her heart to those around her, they open their arms to her. She begins to heal, to view her world without fear-tinted sunglasses, and to see the hope and possibility in her own story. It’s a lovely read—lighthearted, joyful, and optimistic. I appreciate how the twins’ budding romances don’t follow the stereotypical “twins loving the same guy” trope. Mio and Himari are unique people with different personalities and interests, which lends depth to their stories. However, I did cringe at the glancing inclusion of trauma as a sort of MacGuffin. Surely, if I’d suffered something so scarring that I couldn’t bear to leave the house for months, it would take more than my sister’s pleas (counseling, perhaps?) to goad me outdoors again. That detail cast a shadow across this sunny story’s path. Still, we’ve got two more volumes to see how things play out, and I’m excited about the journey. ~ sleepminusminus

Sunbeams in the Sky is published by Yen Press.

I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World and Became Unrivaled in the Real World, Too, Light Novel Vol. 2

While volume one of Cheat Skill in Another World exhibited the same amateurish writing that mars this volume as well, it was at least countered with a sweet story and kind protagonist that made the novel passable. As Yuuya becomes more ingrained in his role as the popular boy in his school and an OP knight in the isekai world, with all that entails (including a growing harem), the sweetness is becoming duller, and all we’re left with is agonizingly horrible writing. We’re forced to read to classic introductions like, “I’m Miu. I’m a model.” We get to see pages of conversation between Yuuya and his dog, who always always responds, “Woof.” And the first person present tense, my gosh, the first person present tense! Can you hear me screaming? If your name is Kazuo Ishiguro, by all mean, have at it. But if you’re named Miku, someone needs to stop you from clunkily having your protagonist outline every single thing he’s doing as he does it. It makes volume two of Cheat Skill in Another World nigh unreadable. However, I did read it. And now you don’t have to. And for that, you should be very, very grateful. ~ Twwk

I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World and Became Unrivaled in the Real World, Too is published by Yen Press.

READ: I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World and Became Unrivaled in the Real World, Too Vol. 1 Review

Evergreen, Manga Vol. 3

Do you remember all that dark imagery from volume one and the subtle hints from volume two that Hotaka and Niki are intimately and unexpectedly connected? Well, forget them, at least for now. Those threads are purposely set aside for a third volume that is school romcom anime at its best. It reminds me very much of Kaguya-sama, with these insane bits of comedy every few panels that keep us engaged while glorying in the characters’ personalities. And as expected of Yuyuko Takemiya, the supporting characters are every bit as intriguing as the main ones, with On especially continuing to shine as an amazing friend, confidante, and love interest. But of course, the emphasis remains on the leads, and they get serious relationship development in this volume. But getting together is not the end game. The final panels remind us once again that something perhaps unwanted by both the couple and the readers is on the horizon, just sitting there cackling at us and awaiting the final volume of this otherwise delightful and light romcom series. ~ Twwk

Evergreen is published by Seven Seas Entertainment.

READ: Evergreen Reviews Vol. 1 // Vol. 2

“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.

One thought on “Reader’s Corner: Kaiju No. 8 (Vol. 6), Sunbeams in the Sky (Vol. 1), and I Got a Cheat Skill in Another World (Vol. 2)

  1. […] Buckle up; this week’s review list is longer than a Star Wars screen scrawl! Of note: Rebecca Silverman reviews the new edition of Life… Adam Symchuk recommends Boy’s Abyss… Krystallina shares her thoughts on Perfect World… and the latest Reader’s Corner offers short, snappy reviews of My Sister the Cat, Kowloon Generic Romance, and Cinderella Closet. […]

Leave a Reply