Category: Manga

Today’s Tub Manga: Barakamon (volume 14)

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Barakamon volume 14

I absolutely love, love, LOVE this manga. Every volume is superb and I just want it to go on forever. I can’t rant enough about how adorable and entertaining this series is. With every book I find myself laughing out loud and filled with warm fuzzy happiness by the time I finish.

Except then I get a little sad that I have to wait for more, but that’s typical.

In this volume, Naru and Sensei return from their Tokyo visit, bearing souvenirs. Kind of. Kousuke is crashed at Sensei’s house, vowing to quit calligraphy at the same time Sensei announces he’s quitting calligraphy to teach instead. As expected, mayhem ensues. We do get some resolution to the Great Higashino Daikon Competition…but surprisingly my favorite part was the very realistic liquor store dilemma. Maybe because I live in a small town or maybe because ours is a family business…or both. But for that scene, this slice-of-life was very “life” to me.

 

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Today’s Tub Manga: My Love Story!! (volume 13–final volume)

I cannot say enough wonderful things about this series. Watch the anime, read the manga–this series deserves your attention!

Volume 13 is the final volume…and in my opinion, it’s perfect. Everything is wrapped up nicely, nothing drags on too long, and we can see everyone off with a smile, loving them even more than when we started. I feel like this is a refreshing departure from the “how the heck do I end this..?” syndrome I’ve seen too often lately. Sure, the ending of My Love Story!! isn’t anything too radical or revolutionary, but it is a well-thought-out ending and I appreciate that.

On a final note, while I’ve loved Suna from the beginning, his role in this final volume really just made everything perfect for me. My Love Story!! doesn’t just encompass the romance between Yamato and Takeo, but the friendship between Takeo and Suna as well.

Today’s Tub Manga: Kigurumi Guardians (volume 1)

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Kigurumi Guardians

 I absolutely fell in love with this, all the while thinking, “There’s no way this should be as good as it is.” But hey, that’s what love is, right? Utter irrationality? 

At the risk of a laughably nonsensical comparison, reading Kigurumi Guardians reminded me of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. I couldn’t help but think that like Araki, Hoshino’s style is incredibly enjoyably bizarre yet if anyone else were to produce a story like this, I’d think, “This is some crazy garbage! What a hot mess!” Instead, I read Araki or Hoshino and think, “This is fucking genius! Gah, amazing!”

So yes: this series may not be for everyone. It doesn’t really make sense. It feels like a parody of about five different genres. It’s erratic and silly and yet gives us these super serious and dark undertones. Our cast seems scattered from Sailor Moon, Utena, Ouran High School, and ACCA. 

But in true Hoshino-style, the insanity is what makes it great. 

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.

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.