When volume one of Frau Faust came out, all I saw were comparisons to Yamazaki’s other series The Ancient Magus’ Bride. I guess it’s to be expected being the same author, but from the get-go, Frau Faust reminded me way more of Black Butler with a dash of xxxHolic. And I mean that in the best of ways.
I really enjoy Johanna as a protagonist; she’s comfortable as herself (as she should be after a hundred years), smart, and independent. Her personality is a breath of fresh air. I suppose that’s why it’s up to Marion to be the wayward, unsure, angsty teen–a role he plays well without being so wishy-washy as to be irritating.
In volume two, the search is on for Mephisto’s right leg. In the meantime, we get a very informative flashback to Johanna’s childhood and why she made her deal with the devil. I also couldn’t help but love the bit of banter and male bonding time between Lorenzo (I can’t read the name “Lorenzo” without thinking of Cuticle Detective Inaba, though) and Vito. By the end of the volume we’re eyeballs-deep in a mystery that feels like the lovechild of Blue Exorcist and Vatican Miracle Examiner.
I feel like I’m unintentionally name-dropping way too much in this post.
In the author’s note at the end, Yamazaki-sensei apologizes for the slow pace of the story, but I think it’s just right. Everything is coalescing in an enjoyable, natural way.
This. Was. Amazing.
I reached the “break” between chapters and had to remind myself to breathe. I sat there for a second, excitedly thinking, “What the hell did I just read?!” Honestly, it wasn’t like I’d read it at all–it was more like I’d just watched a movie or just…felt it. That’s how instantly engrossing this was for me.
I love the new-agey implications of a story involving an immortal essence, something that lives, makes mistakes, dies, learns, and then is reborn to try again. And again. And again…constantly learning and evolving and progressing.
But even if spiritualism and analogies of reincarnation aren’t your thing, To Your Eternity is so compelling and beautifully written you don’t want to pass it up.
I love All Out!!
So in volume two, we’re finishing up the match against Keijo. We get some really great sports-manga moments and even a short flashback to a Sekizan before he had the curly hair and white streaks. (Better yet, the hair thing is even commented on in the between-chapter comics.)
Since Gion is a beginner, more rules are explained in this volume so the reader and Gion can learn the rules of rugby together. (right…)
In this match of hot-blooded young men, Ooharano stands out and the other first years…don’t. He also stands out because he doesn’t like sweaty guys. (Speak for yourself!) Ebumi wants to play and there comes a moment in the second half where they have to sub someone in…but let’s not forget who’s the protagonist of this story! (Hint: not Ebumi.)
After the match, we get a bonus manga of one of my favorite sports manga institutions: the after-match function! Because there’s nothing like teams who were just trying to beat the crap out of each other now socializing and having a good time. Ah, youth.
Speaking of my favorite sports manga institutions, the end of this volume kicks off (no pun intended)…THE TRAINING CAMP. Is there anything better? The best thing about this training camp is we get a new character who is totally going to shake things up. No pain, no gain!
On a personal note, one of my favorite things in this volume is Mutsumi getting offended on Sekizan’s behalf in the final pages and trying to protect him. Seeing easy-going, smiley-eyed Mutsumi get so upset so quickly because someone insulted Sekizan is…the panels my dreams are made of.
The cringe-worthy yet riveting speed date kujibiki continues in volume eleven. The super-awkward somewhat hormonal drama was so intense I don’t think I even blinked. And, of course, we were left with a cliffhanger as Madarame still doesn’t want to make a final decision. Which, as ridiculous as it all is, I could probably put up with at least three more volumes of harem merry-go-round insanity.
At the risk of spoiling: I just wanted to say that Madarame’s reaction to Hato’s “Hato x Mada” fantasy confession was really…endearing?
Also: Yajima might be my manga doppleganger.
Anyway, this series is fucking fantastic and never disappoints. Every time, I think, “This is so freakin’ goofy but so damn smart at the same time.”
On a somewhat irrelevant note, the description given on the back of volume 11 seems to not actually be for volume 11 at all–it sounds like it might be describing volume 12..? Regardless, it hypes events that totally didn’t happen in this volume.
I cannot even describe how freakin’ excited I was when I saw that All Out!! was finally FINALLY getting published in English. Like another sports-manga-love-of-my-life (ahem, Kuroko’s Basketball) I actually buy the Japanese volumes…even though I can’t read Japanese…just so I can flip through and try to figure out what is going on and try to absorb the sports manga essence through my fingertips. That is how crazy I am about this series.
Obscene fangirling aside, this is an incredibly solid and sporty first volume. While nothing too surprising happens initially, the setup allows us to get introduced to our protagonist quickly and the story gets moving at a nice pace. Relatively early we meet the major players of the series, have some minor conflicts, and really get down to what this series is about. No time is wasted introducing a tragic (?) backstory, short training montage, and fleshing out some character motivation and personalities. By the end of the first volume, you’re eyeballs-deep into rugby and ready for MORE.
I really want you to give this a try. I want you to read it. I want you to love it, even a fraction as much as I do.
Okay, so Aho-Girl might be a bit too stupid for some people. It might be a little too full of yelling, faux-violence, awkward almost-sexual situations, bathroom humor, panties, and bananas.
But I love it and think it’s hilarious. Give me more.
I don’t read much shojo anymore (well, compared to what I used to) so I’m not really sure what inspired me to buy something titled Kiss Me at the Stroke of Midnight but…
I’m glad I did.
I was really pleasantly surprised with this title. Sure, a lot of it was fairly predictable in that typical shojo-manga way, but it was really cuter and funnier than I expected. Or maybe the love interest’s ridiculous butt fetish won me over immediately and that’s all it took.