Month: August 2017

Today’s Tub Manga: Aoharu x Machinegun (volume 6)

I have to admit, volume six and its Haru-Haruki arc is my least favorite of the series so far. With the introduction of the twins Haruki and Haruka, the story got unnecessarily moody (moodier?) and convoluted. Neither character is particularly interesting to me; they could be omitted from the series entirely and I don’t think I’d miss them.

I do really like and enjoy this series but volume six was a bit weak for me. Aside from the Haru-Haruki drama, the major game that takes up most of the volume is against Nine Tails…a team that specializes not in guns, but in (fake) blades. And while I know this is manga and not to be taken seriously, I just had a hard time suspending my disbelief. I’ve shot real guns, airsoft guns, paintball guns [I know, they’re called “paintball markers” to try and rid themselves of a violent image], heck, even blowguns…and, well…there’s a reason there’s the saying “don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.”

I can’t imagine bringing fake knives to an airsoft gunfight is any more effective.

However, as a result of this match, Yukki and Hotaru learn important lessons about themselves and what they need to do to compete. So everyone’s happy and isn’t that really what counts? That Hotaru learns–yet again–what she lacks and needs to do to improve?

Anyway, when it’s all said and done, I always enjoy the interactions between Hotaru, Mattsun, and Yukki. And for whatever reason, I also just love the crap out of Fujimoto (who is barely in this volume).

I was just flipping through again to see if I missed anything and holy crap I did not pay enough attention to the very first page, all in glorious color.

I take it all back; volume six is amazing.

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Today’s Tub Manga: First Love Monster (volume 7)

My first thought when I opened volume seven was, “Holy crap. It’s so small!” This volume is…short. And the last almost-half is “extra episodes” of just funny one-off stories. Kind of stories? There are only three actual chapters.

And not a lot happens in those three chapters. It all went by very quickly and I don’t feel like much–if any–progress was made from volume six. Kanade saw Taga kissing Kaho and gets upset and runs away. And is still away by the end of the volume. Volume six ended with him catching them. So…yeah. Not much new to report. Oh, we do get a new “third grader” character in the final pages as kind of a cliffhanger.

I still liked it well enough and I’m not trying to disparage it; obviously I’ll buy volume eight and hope we actually advance the plot a bit.

Today’s Tub Manga: Yona of the Dawn (volume 7)

Volume 7 is one of my favorite volumes so far. Things started opening up in volume six and now I think the story has hit its stride.

This volume begins on a pretty serious and dramatic note since Yona and Yun are captives in the slave ship with the stolen girls. As a result, we get to see both Yun and Yona have to make some tough decisions and risk their lives to get that flare up so the (good?) pirates (with Hak and the Dragons) can target the ship and save the day.

I don’t want to spoil things so all I’ll say is that I’d forgotten about Yona’s last minute shot. I realllllly liked it. Yona now has to be viewed in a different light and I really like what that action means for her character growth.

On a lighter note, this volume is wonderfully full of Jaeha being…Jaeha and Hak trying to be smooth and Yona being oblivious. It has a great balance of tense action and dramatic situations offset with humor and sweetness.

Volumes six and seven are when the series (to me) turns into something “more.” The first volumes can be kind of meh, but this is the arc I have in mind when I encourage people to just keep reading, it’ll be worth it.

Today’s Tub Manga: Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid (volume 4)

This might be my favorite volume of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid yet. This one felt a bit different than the ones before as far as Kobayashi’s inner thoughts and realizations. Volume 4 was still full of dragon humor and shenanigans but it felt a bit “heavier” to me. Or maybe it’s just the current environment or I’m projecting and thinking Dragon Maid is deep and really it’s just the same-old same-old.

But I really did enjoy Kobayashi explaining to Ilulu, who demands that dragons and humans can’t coexist, that: “We enjoy each other’s differences…and before long, we grow to like each others’ species. Respect turns into trust, and trust causes bonds to form.”

Then again, this causes Ilulu to cast some magic on Kobayashi and she ends up in, uh, quite a “pickle” (hehe). I actually liked this little plot twist though the whole time I couldn’t help but wonder if most [North American] readers would find a way to be offended by it. But, for the record, it worked for me.

We also get some cute Takiya/Faf-kun interaction at the hot springs get-together (I do love a hot springs get-together). This volume also delves a bit into Kobayashi’s first meeting with Tohru and we get to see how Elma is blending in at the office.

Today’s Tub Manga: Fire Force (volume 5)

This might be my favorite volume of Fire Force so far. I like the series but couldn’t quite get invested in it. Volume 5 comes on the heels of a bombshell cliffhanger left in volume four and I was a bit hesitant that this volume would be angsty and slowly-paced in response to working that out.

But no, this volume got some stuff done. The cliffhanger was addressed, mostly, without being too drawn out and angst-ridden and for that I was grateful. I was also grateful for the fantastic backstory about how Captain Obi and Lieutenant Hinawa actually formed Special Fire Force Company 8. Fujoshi-vision aside, it was an inspiring and sweet-yet-totally-shonen backstory and I enjoyed it immensely.

I don’t want to compare this series to Soul Eater all the time but I like how it “feels” the same. Stuff happens. Sure, there’s all this weird spooky conspiracy crap behind the scenes, but in the forefront, there’s ACTION. Even if that action is propelled by convenient misunderstandings and over-the-top characters.

So, I know that this is five volumes into a series, but I think this might be the volume that actually hooked me.

Also: there is a really fun interview at the end of this volume between Ohkubo and Fairy Tail‘s Hiro Mashima. It is totally worth the read.

Today’s Tub Manga: Drifters (volume 4)

I. LOVE. DRIFTERS.

I cannot tell you how many times I got goosebumps or flailed around and splashed water everywhere or wanted to shriek with excitement or just laughed out loud as I read this volume.

And omg look who has the cover. [trying not to scream] I thought I might just burst with excitement. I opened this today and I was so happy I kinda wanted to cry.

I know this sounds like a bunch of hyperbole, but I really, really, really love this series. And volume four has been a long time coming.

So, in this volume, we catch up to where the anime ended. We get the coup of Orte’s capital and Toyo’s fight with Hijikata. We get the introduction of St. Germi’s very brawny and topless warriors. Nobunaga’s excitement at his musket crew. Hannibal eating raspberries. I love the drama and the expressions and the cartoony reactions and the action and the violence and the humor and the history and every single panel is perfect…It’s all perfect.

We also go a little beyond the anime in that we see Toyo’s condition after his battle with Hijikata (spoiler: he looks like a mummy); we get a peek into Gumbinnen, where Tamon Yamaguchi is with the Hiryu; and while Nobunaga and St. Germi are speculating why the dog-men and cat-men tribes have risen up, I turned the page and laughed so hard. So we get to see what Scipio’s up to as well. 😉

I loved it all.

Today’s Tub Manga: Black Clover (volume 8)

I can’t help but always love Black Clover.

This volume we’re still underwater but rather than attacking the members of the Underwater Temple in a game, everyone is teamed up to counter the attack by the Eye of the Midnight Sun. This villain is all about “despair, despair!” and no matter how grim things get, Asta is pretty much the opposite of despair. And it does get pretty grim…

We do get a couple other characters rising to the occasion in this volume. Things may not turn out so great for Kiato and Kahono, the enemies-turned-comrades from the Underwater Temple, but many of the Black Bulls get to shine a bit. We get a glimpse of Grey’s full ability…as well as actual Grey! And Charmy kicking ass is always great. Aaand Noelle gets into it and levels up as well.

Volume 8 was another great example of full-on shonen action, humor, battle-manga perfection.