This week, Sean, Michelle, & Anna look at recent releases from Kodansha Comics and Viz Media.
My Little Monster, Vol. 6 | By Robico | Kodansha Comics – Two things stood out the most for me in this volume of My Little Monster. The first was Sasayan, who has been filling the ‘Haru’s male friend’ role since the start, and has had a mild interest in Asako, but whose status as an ‘insider’ – a normal outgoing guy who gets along with everyone – puts him on the wrong footing among this screwed up cast. The second is Shizuku’s mother, whose absence is more telling than her eventual presence. She seems to be a lot like Shizuku, but that’s led to her daughter being starved for affection, and she’s not resented in a good light here. It does allow her to bond more with Haru, though, and as always it’s the character interaction that keeps you coming back to this series.-Sean Gaffney
My Love Story!!, Vol. 3 | By Kazune Kawahara and Aruko | Viz Media – This series continues to be charming, episodic fun. Some of the more amusing highlights of the volume include Takeo and Yamato trying to make sure Sunakawa has a fun birthday, group ice skating (Takeo is a natural), and studying for a mock entrance exam. Takeo’s over-the-top reactions are always great, and I’m really growing fond of Yamato, too. My favorite parts of the series, though, are the more introspective ones. Yamato is painfully yanked out of her blissful reverie with Takeo when she learns that she isn’t his first love, and though he vows to devote himself only to her, he can’t help but help other people (or kitties stuck in traffic) when they are in need. Too, I love that even though Sunakawa sometimes cracks up at his friend’s blunders, he nonetheless respects him deeply. Man, I love this manga. – Michelle Smith
Nisekoi, Vol. 7 | By Naoshi Komi | Viz Media – Speaking of mothers that are just like their daughters, this volume of Nisekoi shows off Chitoge’s workaholic mother, whose fierce, take no prisoners attitude leads everyone to be terrified of her – including her daughter, who calls her “Mother Dearest”, in a nice translation joke by Viz. Luckily, Raku is there to beat some sense into both mother and daughter. The other new character, Paula, a fellow assassin friend of Tsumugi’s, makes less of an impression, possibly as she doesn’t fall for Raku. And Ruri’s growing feelings of… something for Shu are getting more and more obvious. Nisekoi continues to handle its standard harem comedy elements very well, though the ‘balance’ definitely swings towards Chitoge here.-Sean Gaffney
One-Punch Man, Vol. 3 | By One and Yusuke Murata | Viz Media – This volume shows loner superhero Saitama and his pupil the cyborg Genos becoming official after taking the Hero Certification Exam. Genos gets a perfect score and is assigned class S while Saitama aces the physical exam and tanks the written portion, getting a minimum qualification of class C. One-Punch Man’s casual attitude towards the superhero business get him in a bit of trouble with his new colleagues. I’m happy to see a bit more world building in this volume, as the reader gets a flashback to the days when Saitama still had hair and was yet to assume his superhero identities. Seeing new hilarious heroes like Spring Mustachio and a training session between Saitama and Genos brings jokes and rampant descruction that are trademarks of this manga. – Anna N
Say I Love You., Vol. 5 | By Kanae Hazuki | Kodansha Comics – It occurs to me that Say I Love You. features many stock shoujo scenarios—Valentine’s Day, the male lead enjoying a brief career as a popular model, a scheming rival, and the new first year with a thing for the heroine—but deploys and develops them in a more genuine way than is usually the case. I especially like seeing Yamato’s insecurities come to the fore when it turns out that Mei is able to talk to his old middle school friend, Kai, about some things that she hasn’t yet discussed with him. True, I could entirely due without Megumi and her mean-girl antics, but at least her reign of tyranny was short-lived as Kai’s advice helped Mei to stop falling victim to Megumi’s machinations. I’m looking forward to volume six! – Michelle Smith