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.

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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.

Today’s Tub Manga: Servamp (volume 10)

I know “servamp” is supposed to be an abbreviation of “servant-vampire” but I think it might actually be a shorter term for “holy crap does everyone have the most fucked up backstory ever?!”

So in the tragic backstory department, Servamp continues to deliver. We delve deeper into the mysteries of the crew of C3 and into Tsurugi in particular. I don’t have much more to say about this particular volume other than it’s kind of painful in that heart-breaky way that damaged children incur. I was pretty excited about the appearance of Wrath and in the last few pages…well, I was super stoked about the direction Wrath was going (and Tsurugi too).

Today’s Tub Manga: Assassination Classroom (volume 17)

So Volume 17 brings us to the battle between Karma and Nagisa and their respective Kill Koro Sensei/Save Koro Sensei groups.

I don’t actually have much to say about this except I was kind of surprised because I remembered this scene being relatively short in the anime yet it took up most of this volume. I didn’t expect this battle to be quite so beefy in terms of the manga.

…Though now that I’m thumbing through again, I apparently forgot entirely about this ridiculous and perfect Colonel Sanders snuggling with Ronald McDonald title page for chapter 143. And Ronald’s button says “KILL.” I think it’s worth buying this volume just for that one picture.

Anyway, I do like the weird friendship backstory we get as a result of the Nagisa/Karma battle. So it’s only fitting that those two go together to hijack the Space Station…which is an arc that to this day makes me kind of frown and shake my head and ask, “Really? They went that route, huh?” But most of that is saved for Volume 18…

For a story with an ultimately very dark plot, I’m always amazed at how funny it can be. Though the humor for me comes in the little side-things and end-of-volume author’s notes and whatnot. It’s all very well done. I loved the final page pitch from The Offices of Koro, Attorney At Law.

Not to be maudlin but reading Volume 17 felt just a little weird and a bit sad. The final volume is near; we know this. So with each volume we read, we continue marching toward the bitter (?) end.

Today’s Tub Manga: Horimiya (volume 8)

I love(d) this series. I did not love this volume.

There was a sports festival, which I’m usually all about, but this kind of fell flat. Then there was something with dead rabbits that I didn’t remember and kept wondering where it was relevant.

I did wonder halfway through if this was a series better read in one go; there were too many characters I did not remember at all and trying to puzzle out the people and their relationships was a bit distracting. Admittedly, that is my fault more than the mangaka’s.

I will buy Volume 9 and hope that it regains the hilarity and cuteness I fell in love with.