To paraphrase a dying Doc Holliday in Tombstone: “If you were ever my friend, if you ever had any of the slightest feeling for me…read Astra Lost in Space.”
Seriously. I really want you to read this. I want everyone to read this. It’s so so so incredibly good.
In this first volume we’re introduced to the kids who think they’re going on a planet camping trip for a week. But instead of a safe time learning camping skills, the group gets sucked into this weird orb thing and spat out into space. Luckily, they find an old empty ship (though this ship is defunct in some suspicious ways, hmmm…) and try to cobble together a plan to survive and return home, some bazillion (okay, 5012) light years away.
Having been repeatedly blown away by the suspense/cliffhangers/mystery/holy shit! moments, I’d forgotten how genuinely funny this series is. It’s such a crazy perfect combination of emotions and genres and artistic elements that makes it an intriguing and engaging read.
PLEASE READ THIS. I’M BEGGING YOU.
What time is it? It’s Golden Kamuy time! Woo!
Approximately four pages into this volume, I wanted to scream to the world, “OMG I LOVE THIS MANGA!” It is really just that freakin’ good.
Saichi has great scars. Asirpa kicks ass and makes poop jokes. The bad guys are skin-crawly. The violence is intense, the live animals perfectly detailed, and the dead animals…even more perfectly detailed. The entire time I’m reading, I think, “Everything in this manga is perfect.” Even the comedy is totally on point. I can’t get enough.
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.
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.
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.
In the interest of full disclosure, I actually read most of this volume while on the stairstepper and not in the tub. I found this to be a pretty efficient way to make a wonderful manga not really enjoyable and do not advise it.
Volume 14 picks up with Daichi on the floor…and soon Daichi spitting out a tooth. As a result, our steadfast captain has to go to the infirmary, leaving a gap in on the court bigger than the one in his mouth…
So this is the volume where we reallllly get to know Chikara and he’s given his chance to shine. We get a better feel for his character and a peek into his history, as well as insight into what his teammates think of him. All of this hits us in the middle of a game against the wanna-be Little Giant of Wakunan–a game that Karasuno has to win to give Daichi a chance to come back. Who wants to end their high school volleyball career in the infirmary?!
This volume is full of intense action and dare-I-say cute exchanges. I couldn’t help but smirk at Asahi’s & Tanaka’s exchange after Nishinoya compliments Chikara on a save. Asahi saying, “Yeah, a compliment from Nishinoya on a save will get anyone pumped” while drawn with that goofy (lovey?) expression warms my heart every time. As does Noya chopping Asahi in the ribs. One of my other Top Ten Heartwarming Scenes in this volume is Suga’s enthusiasm when he sees Daichi is alive and intact…
We also get a bit more Yamaguchi in this volume and at the risk of killing poor Yamaguchi, I love what the mangaka does with him. He gets a bit of spotlight and then ends up tormented again, but I really enjoy his path of personal growth. I also enjoy him announcing he’s going to the bathroom and Hinata’s troubled comment of, “Wow, he sure looked serious about going to the bathroom.” Tsukki’s expression in that panel is priceless.
A couple other notables: Volume 14 contains the results of the Second Annual Character Popularity Poll. Anyone who watches Gintama knows how important these polls are. Anyway, Tanaka’s older sister isn’t happy with her brother’s standing in the rankings. Also, at the end of this volume, we get the cute Nisekoi x Haikyu “Nisekyu” chapter.
Haikyu!! is always great. It’s just better in the tub and not on the stairstepper.
I sometimes wonder if I will ever get enough My Hero Academia.
That said, it’s starting to get a little tricky reading it in Jump and watching the simulcast and then reading the manga volumes as they’re released. My brain is getting all scrambly.
But that’s okay because this is a great volume. The kids are at training camp, which is a lot more entertaining than I remembered when it originally ran in Jump. Horikoshi-sensei mentions in the opening author’s comment that this volume is “still pretty gloomy” and we get a reminder that while his heroes are creative and awesome, his villains are just as eerily skin-crawly to match.
Training camp chaperoned by the Wild Wild Pussycats (hilarious) gets interrupted by some villains (not hilarious). We get some great inspirational Deku-leveling-up-as-a-hero this volume. And you can’t beat an attack name like “Delaware Detroit Smash.” And one thing I had totally forgotten was Tokoyami’s rampaging Quirk and I kinda loved it.
My Hero Academia is always so well-written and brilliant. So much so that I’m blown away every time I read it, even if I’ve read it already… O.o
“Memory” is obviously not my Quirk.