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.
POSSIBLE KIND-OF SPOILERS
Chakuro is compelled to write so he chronicles the events of the Mud Whale, a giant castle-ship that floats around on a sand ocean. It’s a closed society consisting of two types of people: the Marked, who use a type of magic; and the Unmarked, who don’t use magic but live longer and because of their longer lifespan, actually govern the Mud Whale.
Things start to get crazy when they spot an island and do some recon, only to “salvage” the lone survivor.
This will sound morbid but I actually liked the end of this volume the best. I appreciated the world-building and setting the scene but it felt…I don’t want to say “stagnant” but the entire time, you know something big and mysterious is going to happen (anything involving a Committee of Elders is a dead giveaway) and it’s like, “Get on with it!” I love a slow burn and appreciate pacing, but the anticipation was almost uncomfortable.
So when everything erupted with the suddenness and violence that it did, it was sickeningly gratifying. Like, “Yes! This is what I was waiting for!” even as I felt like a bad person all the while for so eagerly devouring their misfortune and trauma.
One thing in those final scenes that I thought was conveyed exceptionally well is the feeling and realization that the Mud Whale inhabitants hadn’t seen lethal violence. They had no reference for it. The incomprehension rather than terror on their faces during the initial wave really drove home the fact that these people had lived in isolation and relative innocence their entire lives…and thus the slaughter felt even more brutal and tragic.
I can’t believe it’s been twenty-five volumes! This is really the only way it could have ended; after the last page, I just felt like, “Yep. That was the ‘right’ ending. That’s the way it had to be.”
For anyone reading the series but hasn’t finished it yet, I do recommend buying the limited edition and getting the Kamistravaganza booklet. It’s totally worth it as the epilogue/extra story/final-final chapter included in the booklet really ties things up nicely. That last story was really necessary for closure after twenty-five volumes.
I’ve said in recent posts that I don’t read as much shojo as I used to, but back when I “used to” Kamisama Kiss was one of my favorites. While my love for the genre has waned a bit, I still think this is a very solid shojo series and I loved it till the end.
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.
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.
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.
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.