Sean, Anna, and Michelle present a smattering of briefy goodness.
The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Vol. 2 | By Aya Shouoto | VIZ Media – At first, I thought this must be a short series, since Himari and Aoi already have feelings for each other by chapter four, but it’s not especially so. Thankfully, the pace slows down a little more toward the end of the volume, as Himari transfers into a new school. Curious classmates follow her home to her notoriously haunted house, and after a bit of comedic drag by the bishounen occupants, we learn that one of the visitors is already dead. It’s a nice bit of creepiness that will carry over into the next volume, hopefully boding well for more stories of a similar nature down the pipeline. Too, I liked the too-short bonus story of how Aoi came to reside within Momochi House. I am intrigued and will continue to follow this series! – Michelle Smith
Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, Vol. 8 | By Yoto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki | Viz Media – I leave out contributor Yuki Morisaka in these briefs for reasons of space, but it’s fairly clear that she’s a second food expert on this title. The addition of the recipes makes sure that the series doesn’t get too ridiculous with its culinary competitions—when Alice uses liquid nitrogen to prepare her bento meal, it’s lampshaded that the bento recipe provided is a “super-easy” version of same. As for the contest, after Megumi’s spotlight last time, this time it’s Soma that gets to move on—though Megumi does have a not-so-shocking realization about her feelings for him. The question is not whether Soma will get past Alice—the nature of the title is not going to have him lose here. It’s how that makes us want more. – Sean Gaffney
Knights of Sidonia, Vol. 14 | By Tsutomu Nihei | Vertical Comics – Perhaps it’s an understatement to say that things are not looking good for the crew of the Sidonia. Spurred into the offensive against a huge cluster ship by the fact that it will only get bigger if they wait, two attack fleets are dispatched without injured ace Tanikaze and soon more gauna materialize to destroy half of them. Still more gauna threaten the Sidonia and, oh yeah, there’s a rogue crazy hybrid out there to contend with, as well. It’s a tense volume and I love that I can actually believe that Nihei really will allow humanity’s last hope to perish. My sole quibble is that when the captain tells Tanikaze about his origins and seemingly attempts to seduce him he has basically no reaction to the former and we never see response to the latter. You’d better not cheat on Tsumugi, you jerk! – Michelle Smith
Library Wars: Love & War, Vol. 14 | Original Concept by Hiro Arikawa, Story and Art by Kiiro Yumi | Viz Media – As ever, the basic premise of Library Wars is essentially ridiculous, and as a result it’s pretty hard to care about all the plotting the gang is doing to get an author whose freedom of expression is being denied to a foreign embassy so that he might defect. And yet, this setup does result in some terrific moments, like Shibazaki being omniscient (to anyone familiar with Suits, Shibazaki is the manga equivalent of Donna), Iku slinging an injured Dojo over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and the impossible-not-to-love two-page spread depicting a certain couple’s first kiss. Library Wars is very far from deep, but it is fun, and I expect that the next and final volume will offer up some satisfying resolution. Wonder if VIZ will release the sequel! – Michelle Smith
My Little Monster, Vol. 10 | By Robico | Kodansha Comics – Remember just one volume ago, where sweetly, slowly developing high school romance reigned supreme? Quite adeptly, Robico turns things on their head in volume ten. It’s Yuzan’s birthday, and his scandal-prone famous father is adamant that Haru attend the party for the sake of public appearances. He goes, and it’s awful, but before then we get some much-needed insight into Yuzan’s perspective. All along, I kind of thought Haru’s effortless academic superiority was just a throwaway attribute, but it turns out that it’s the source of all his problems. Young Yuzan envied Haru so much that he contrived to get him thrown out of their father’s house, and when Haru learns that Shizuku is jealous too, he can’t take it. It’s an excellent, though upsetting, volume and I absolutely love feeling that a happy ending is not a foregone conclusion. Even more strongly recommended than previously! – Michelle Smith
Seraph of the End: Vampire Reign, Vol. 6 | by Takaya Kagami and Yamato Yamamoto | Viz Media – This volume continues to show a bit of world building and backstory as Yu and Kimizuki face the demons inside their cursed weapons to gain yet another level of power. The political machinations in the Japanese Imperial Demon Army and the vampire nobility are also explained a bit, as Yu and Mika are set up for yet another confrontation. I enjoy the blend of character development and demonic weapon vs vampire action in Seraph of the End, mostly because there’s are more interesting storylines in this manga than the typical shonen action title. – Anna N
Toriko, Vol. 30 | By Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro | Viz Media – I do wonder if the reason for the big romance advancement this volume in a series where romance, let’s face it, is way way down on the list of importance was to dial back the series’ burgeoning BL fandom in Japan. Jump often gets accused of pandering to BL fans. Toriko isn’t Gintama, but they too can’t quite resist making fun of it—when Toriko accepts Rin’s proposal, Sunny straight up asks what about Komatsu? And Komatsu has dinner with a cute, like-minded chef not long after that. I think it would have more impact if Rin had been given a larger role in the story to date, but it’s still pretty heartwarming, particularly as it’s not the “I have no idea what I just agreed to” proposal acceptance I was assuming. – Sean Gaffney