Why did Raeliana end up at the duke’s mansion? What’s wrong with Secretary Kim? And will the witch and the knight survive? No guarantees you’ll get the answers to these questions, but those and more are certainly featured in this week’s offerings, which also include several manhwa and the concluding volume of a much-maligned series from the author of Toradora and Golden Time.
The Boxer (Vol. 2) • Evergreen (Vol. 4) • Kingdom Hearts Final Mix (Vol. 1) • My Girlfriend’s Child (Vol. 1) • The Way of the Househusband (Vol. 9) • What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? (Vol. 1) • Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion (Vol. 3) • The Witch and the Knight Will Survive (Vol. 1) • Wolf Girl and Black Prince (Vol. 1)
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?, Manwha Vol. 1
I am ecstatic that Yen Press released What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? physically because I read almost all of the series digitally on TappyToons last year and knew it was something I would want to own physically! The story follows Miso Kim, who has been the secretary for vice-chairman Youngjun Lee for nine years, but decides that she is going to put in her resignation to find love. Youngjun just can’t seem to wrap his mind around her declaration, because why would she ever want to stop working for him and leave the excellent work-life she has? Despite his offers and second chances to try and keep her as his secretary, he decides he will do whatever it takes to keep her by his side! This story is truly such a joy to read, as I love their banter so much! Youngjun is definitely not the kind of hero I usually cheer for, but seeing his narcissistic and perfect self speechless at Miso not wanting to be with him romantically or stay at the company made me laugh often. I also really like Miso and how she can handle herself. She’s a strong heroine who doesn’t put up with anything, and I’m totally cheering for her to stand her ground, but…I’m also completely invested in this romance and can’t wait to read what Youngjun is going to do next in trying to change her mind. Ha! Definitely a very fun beginning of an office romcom that makes me eager for the next volume to release, because this is a story I’ll come back to time and time again for a good laugh! ~ Laura A. Grace
What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? is published by Yen Press.
The Boxer, Manhwa Vol. 2
Volume two of The Boxer continues to be just as engaging as the first volume! Yu has officially accepted K’s offer to train at his gym with the intention of Yu becoming a professional boxer. While many don’t think there is anything legendary about a scrawny kid who doesn’t even know how to box, Yu quickly shows that he is unnaturally gifted with extremely fast reflexes. He quickly proves he is a worthy contender, but will he continue to be so in his first professional match against the “Rookie Killer”? One of the most interesting takeaways I had after reading this volume is that it shows many different sides of the life of boxing and how wins and losses have affected these characters. It’s not happy, and more often than not (we see that especially with the losses), it’s a bitter and ugly truth to face. I wouldn’t say previous sports manga I’ve read don’t reflect this well, but I feel there is a brutality here that I haven’t seen captured in the same way. As a reader, I felt these boxers’ hardships in coming to terms with these new realities. It was as if their feelings had reached out across the page and wrapped around me, which was incredible (even if hard) to feel as a reader. The art also continues to be incredible! JH continues to show the anguish or the “impossible” in very vivid ways that I think really deliver the feelings he’s capturing super well. Not only that, but the intensity that Yu can bring even when straight-faced never fails to amaze me. I’m super interested in seeing what happens next because there are two new characters that I think are going to make Yu give his all even more than he did in this volume! ~ Laura A. Grace
The Boxer is published by IZE Press, an imprint of Yen Press.
READ: The Boxer Reviews Vol. 1
My Girlfriend’s Child, Manga Vol. 1
Pause for a minute and put yourself in the shoes of a high school girl who thinks she might be pregnant. Would you tell your parents about it? What about your boyfriend? If you’re bleeding, does it mean the pregnancy test was a false positive? Or could it mean you’ve miscarried? And if it is true that you’re pregnant, will you keep the baby? My Girlfriend’s Child, which tackles this serious topic with panels featuring soft lines that help convey the sensitive tone the story is going for, captures the confusion and questioning of a young woman in this situation. Sachi, whose family loves her caring boyfriend, Takara, is experiencing physical and emotional signs of pregnancy and feels very alone, despite the support around her. It all feels incredibly realistic. I get the sense that this could be a very important work for many manga readers who might find themselves in the same situation. For the rest of us, volume one could come off as a little bland. The artwork is inconsistent, and the story is a little jumpy, lacking flow. But still, I found myself really attracted to the willingness of Mamoru Aoi to fully explore this topic, to not hold back by making the series too humorous or avoiding messiness (quite literally, when showing Sachi’s blood in a toilet). There’s a courage here that’s admirable and interesting in and of itself, and it adds to the appeal of the work, making the volume worth reading, whether or not the story is personally meaningful for you. ~ Twwk
My Girlfriend’s Child is published by Seven Seas Entertainment.
Wolf Girl and Black Prince, Manga Vol. 1
This is one of those manga titles where I nervously laugh and say I read it, but not with an ounce of pride that I did so. In fact, I only finished this volume because I was super sick at the time of reading it and needed something to keep me awake since it was too late to take a nap. In any other circumstance, this would have been marked as DNF and I would have quickly moved on to something else. Erika is tired of hearing her friends brag about how great their boyfriends are and decides to take a photo of a random hottie she crosses paths with and tells her friends that he is her boyfriend. Much to her surprise though, the said hottie is actually one of her classmates, Kyoya Sata! While he agrees to be her fake boyfriend for the sake of appearances, it turns out he has a “dark side” no one but Erika knows about. Kyoya is the most red flag love interest I have ever read in fiction. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact this is the same mangaka as Ima Koi: Now I’m in Love because Kyoya and Yagyu are so different. Yagyu is such a gentleman, while Kyoya is like “you’re my dog, woof for me.” (And I mean that for real. Kyoya actually said that…and more than once at that…) Despite Kyoya having an occasional thoughtful moment, I still couldn’t get behind this romance. He may have a rough backstory, but there is no reason why he should treat our heroine so badly for well over half this volume! I won’t be continuing this one. I didn’t love the heroine and definitely wasn’t fond of Kyoya and will not be recommending this manga to anyone. ~ Laura A. Grace
Wolf Girl and Black Prince is published by Shojo Beat, an imprint of VIZ Media. Volume one releases on May 9th.
The Witch and the Knight Will Survive, Manga Vol. 1
One day, Agredios loses everything. Returning from a long hunt, he finds his parents, brother, and entire village dead, the victims of a deadly curse. Bitter revenge grips his heart, and he resolves to avenge their deaths by slaying the witch who, according to legend, caused it all. But when he meets this witch, he finds she isn’t guilty—and the curse runs deeper than he knows. The Witch and the Knight Will Survive starts mysteriously but soon expands into a moving tale about sacrifice, loss, family, and courage. Volume one reminds me of Promised Neverland with its found family setup. We see a beautiful picture of what it looks like to stand firm in the face of immense suffering and fight fiercely for those you love. And we see that suffering in all its depth—not cut short for plot convenience. Dai Chikamoto doesn’t minimize Agredios’s cruelty to the innocent witch or his sorrow in the face of loss. Instead, the author portrays Agredios as he is: torn apart by grief and remorse, seized by a strict sense of duty to his village, grateful for life, and longing to set things right. “I’m not cut out to be the lord of these lands. I’d rather be a knight who protects their peace.” The same goes for the other characters, whose journeys intertwine to tell a grand, hopeful tale. Lastly, the captivating backgrounds, deliberate paneling, and rough shading contribute to the volume’s warm, expansive feeling. This volume will survive in my memory over the coming months as I eagerly await the next release. ~ sleepminusminus
The Witch and the Knight Will Survive is published by Yen Press.
Evergreen, Manga Vol. 4
Evergreen comes to an abrupt end in volume four, though the hurried pacing of the previous volume, too, seems to indicate that Yuyuko Takemiya had to end this series prematurely. And this quick finish is what’s most disappointing about the manga: these characters are lovely—likable and exhibiting some depth—and deserving of a more detailed story. Still, I was satisfied enough with the ending and, more importantly, with Takemiya’s willingness to try something completely different with the series (major spoilers ahead). Incest is played around with in anime and manga frequently, typically either teased at or in a full-steam-ahead sort of way. Rarely is it treated as a central conflict. For Hotaka and Niki, there is no “happy” ending like with Kirino and Kosuke in Oreimo (yuck): after coming to realize the nature of their relationship to one another, they move forward in a way that’s expected and eventually heal. The ick factor in Evergreen is mitigated by the characters not realizing their relationship beforehand and then making a good decision after discovering it. However, if Takemiya had spent volumes and volumes having Hotaka and Niki flirt and date, I would have received the ending as less authentic and hypocritical. So perhaps concluding Evergreen quickly was the right move for this kind of story, after all. ~ Twwk
Evergreen is published by Seven Seas Entertainment.
Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion, Manwha Vol. 3
I forgot how much I loved reading Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion until I dove into volume three! Once I started reading, I quickly found myself laughing and very much enjoying myself because these two are one of my favorite “fake” couples! But, ha! Who is to say it’s fake anymore with the developments in this one? Raeliana and Noah are on the way to the torch-lighting ceremony, where—to everyone’s surprise—the high priest takes a liking to her! As if that surprise was not enough, they soon realize that someone is out to get Raeliana and will do whatever it takes to make sure she’s not involved with the Duke any longer. While this is such a minor part in the grand scheme of things, can I just take a moment to say I love seeing the bookkeeper again?! I didn’t think Raeliana would go back to that one bookstore from the beginning, but I’m glad she did because the conversation she had with the bookkeeper and Noah was definitely one of my favorite scenes in this volume! On the flip side, one of my least favorite parts was the high priest. He is such a prideful and stuck-up man, and his kid-like appearance made it even worse! Ha! Granted, I slowly came around by the end due to certain events that unfolded at the torch ceremony, but it still was not my absolute favorite. I was surprised by how many new people Raeliana meets in this volume and very interested in seeing how they will play a role later on. I’m definitely super interested in the romance because I was swooning and squealing at the many soft moments our not-so-fake couple had! Definitely another fantastic volume, and I eagerly anticipate the next one, especially with how this volume ended! ~ Laura A. Grace
Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion is published by Yen Press.
READ: Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion Reviews Vol. 1 // Vol. 2
The Way of the Househusband, Manga Vol. 9
When I read The Way of the Househusband, I like to play a game where I see how long I can keep a straight face while Tatsu says the most gangster things about mundane household chores. I’m not very good at it. Whether he’s trying to sell kitchen knives by slipping into his presentation how good they would be for atoning with your pinky finger, or using a suitcase of “herbs” (really just lavender) to freshen up a room, Tatsu’s unintentional one-liners hit one after another. This is the kind of series you need to read if you’re feeling down in the dumps, you’re hurting, or you’ve just had a rough day. The househusband will surely come to the rescue. I would add one caveat, however. I think the volumes in this series are best read months apart. Since there’s no plot to speak of and few important characters, you don’t have to worry about forgetting about what’s happening in the story, and the laughs will go further when you give the volumes some time to rest in between. I feel like Tatsu would advise the same, though in a little more colorful way. ~ Twwk
The Way of the Househusband is published by VIZ Media.
READ: The Way of the Househusband Reviews Vol. 3 // Vol. 4 // Vol. 5 // Vol. 6 // Vol. 7 // Vol. 8
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix, Manga Vol. 1
As a fan of the now classic and ongoing RPG Kingdom Hearts, I was intrigued to pick this one, and also pleasantly surprised to find there are so many more volumes of the various games in the series. If you’ve played KH like me, then you will know what will happen when you turn the pages, but I liked that Shiro Amano added some of his artistic licenses to the franchise. Sora seems sillier, Riku is more mysterious, and dialogue is added that wasn’t in the game. It was like playing the RPG but reading it through a manga. Some sections moved a little too fast, and if I didn’t know what was going on prior, I would have been confused as to how they jumped from one scene to another with little explanation. Kingdom Hearts is not one to make much sense anyways, so it didn’t bother me: to this day, the plot is confusing unless you watch a Youtube video that breaks it all down, or tries to anyway! I’ll be back for more, as there’s only one more volume in this Final Mix of the first game, and it was nostalgic to relive some of my childhood through this version of the first PlayStation game I ever owned! ~ Samuru
Kingdom Hearts Final Mix was 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.
3 thoughts on “Reader’s Corner: Wolf Girl and Black Prince, The Witch and the Knight Will Survive, and Why Raeliana Ended Up at the Duke’s Mansion”
I have to say the animé of Wolf Girl and the Black Prince was decent, as I recall. It moves past the basic “be my dog” situation very quickly and the show seemed (from memory, as I watched it a while ago) to have a good heart. Animé =/= Manga of course, for better or worse, but maybe give the animé the 3 episode test to see if it has the same vibe as the manga or was edited to change the tone. If it was then it sounds like a change for the better…
OMG, What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim is soo funny! I love how narcissistic her boss it, and despite her best intentions Kim really is great at her job. And the misunderstanding are great in this series. Super funny!
[…] Over at ANN, Andrew Osmond reviews Studio Ghibli: An Industrial History, a meditation on “Ghibli as a workplace, and as a company in the business of manufacturing fantasy”… Carrie McClain weighs in on three new series from Seven Seas… Megan D. kicks off a month-long celebration of shojo manga with reviews of Skip Beat!, Canon, and Karakuri Odette… and the latest Reader’s Corner has the low-down on The Boxer, Way of the Househusband, and Wolf Girl and Black Prince. […]