Shake off the food coma and partake of some briefs!
Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto, Vol. 2 | By Nami Sano | Seven Seas – It’s always a battle each chapter to see who’s more interesting, Sakamoto or the people reacting to him. Because, while Sakamoto is the star and the catalyst, the plot is driven by those other people, those who find themselves changed by Sakamoto’s eccentric yet ultra-cool behavior. A teacher frustrated and determined to catch Sakamoto doing something against the rules ends up two chapters later yelling “don’t make me worry, dammit” in the best tsundere way. A gang leader finally finds a way to make Sakamoto angry, but the battle which follows still is nothing like he expects. For all that everyone wants to be near, love, or impress Sakamoto, at the end of the day they’re all marching to his beat. – Sean Gaffney
My Neighbor Seki, Vol. 5 | By Takuma Morishige | Vertical Comics – Unlike Sakamoto-kun in the above review, Seki still struggles with controlling the narrative of his own title, mostly as he has to deal with the main heroine, Yokoi, who’s long since given up pretending she doesn’t want to be entertained and get involved, even if she keeps telling herself it’s to punish him and make him pay attention. Sometimes this still backfires on her, such as during parents’ day (when we meet Seki’s non-speaking but frustrated mother), but more often than not, Yokoi is starting to gain the upper hand. Even if this means that other people view their relationship as something more than it is. Seki-kun will never be deep, or even pretend to, but it’s a lot of fun. – Sean Gaffney
Skip Beat!, Vol. 35 | By Yoshiki Nakamura | Viz Media – As this series progresses, Nakamura is able to dial up the emotional stakes for her characters more and more. At first I thought that the enforced closeness of the Heel Siblings storyline was about as intense as it was going to get, but when Kyoko encounters Ren as Corn, her long-lost childhood fairy, the reader sees some vulnerability and uncertainty from Ren/Kuon/Corn that is absolutely disarming. The mental gymnastics that Kyoto goes through to justify her friendship with Corn while she’s thinking of Ren are quite amazing, and Ren dealing with jealousy towards his own alter ego is hilarious. Yet another great volume of Skip Beat!, one of my shoujo favorites. – Anna N
UQ Holder, Vol. 6 | By Ken Akamatsu | Kodansha Comics – This volume seems packed with things that are designed to make any Shonen Magazine reader happy. A genuine zombie invasion, with many, many people killed off—luckily we have a supporting character who can reverse time. An onsen scene that allows readers to get their fill of Akamatsi’s nude bodies, still popular after all these years, and also lets him further develop Kuromaru’s anxiety about gender identity—not helped by everyone else saying “you’re acting like a girl, so be one.” And the presence of Mana at the end, which reminds us that this is still a sequel to Negima, whose cast was filled with students who were half-demon, supernatural, or just robots, so are still around 100 years later. We’ll see what happens with her in the next volume. – Sean Gaffney
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Vol. 5 | By Miki Yoshikawa | Kodansha Comics – For the most part this volume is content to spin its wheels a bit—the fire subplot with Sarushima is stopped with a minimum of fuss and a lot of comedy (including some panty flashing and boob showing, as this is a Magazine title). We also get a new club member, who sadly seems totally uninteresting. Luckily Yamada and Shiraishi are still the best part of this title, and their kind of sort of love story is heartwarming when used properly. The next arc combines witch-hunting with that old shonen favorite, “your club will be used to do the Student Council’s dirty work,” and it will be interesting to see how this develops, though I suspect it will again involve a lot of comedy and panty flashing. – Sean Gaffney