DIVE!!, Vol. 1 | By Eto Mori and Ruzuru Akashiba | Yen Press – Tomoki Sakai has loved diving since the second grade, when he was awed by the diving of another boy named Youichi Fujitani. Now, six years later, he and Youichi are both members of Mizuki Diving Club, which is in trouble as the new president of the sporting goods company that sponsors it is considering shutting it down. Enter their new coach, Kayoko Asaki, who hopes to keep the MDC open by sending one of its members to the Olympics. To this end, she starts training Tomoki hard since his natural flexibility gives him an advantage. So too does his work ethic, but this does little to soothe the wounded pride of his long-time teammates Ryou and Reiji, who think the coach is playing favorites and refuse to acknowledge that they’re slacking off in comparison to Tomoki. There’s not much else to say about DIVE!! at this point, but I’m intrigued. – Michelle Smith
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas: The Complete Manga Collection | By Yoru Sumino and Idumi Kirihara | Seven Seas – Out of all of the versions of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas, including Yoru Sumino’s original novel and its various film adaptations, it was the manga series that provided my introduction to the story. A touching friendship develops between two high school students—Sakura, who has a terminal illness she is hiding from everyone but her family, and an extremely introverted classmate who discovers her secret. The end of the story is known from the beginning, but I Want to Eat Your Pancreas takes a startling turn to get there. Even though it’s foreshadowed, initially it feels a little unfair, but that’s exactly the point and the characters have to come to terms with it, too. So far I’m unfamiliar with the other incarnations of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas and therefore can’t offer a comparison, but the manga adaptation is a pretty solid work on its own. – Ash Brown
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas: The Complete Manga Collection | By Yoru Sumino and Idumi Kirihara | Seven Seas – Shiga Haruki is an introverted kid who claims to have no interest in other people. Odd, then, that for the majority of the series he substitutes his own name with whatever he assumes other people are thinking about him. His outgoing classmate Yamauchi Sakura is intrigued, and when she comes upon Shiga reading the diary in which she has written about her terminal illness, she seizes the chance to get to know him. Gradually, she draws him out of his shell, and it’s really gratifying to see him start to display passionate emotion when he senses that her diagnosis has gotten worse. Knowing her changed him for the better. My one complaint is that, after a pretty random plot twist, the story just speeds along to the end. I might have to check out the original novel to see if the pace is any more leisurely. Definitely recommended. – Michelle Smith
Manga Plus | By Various Artists | Shueisha – I’ve never reviewed an app here before, but this is a biggie. Shueisha how has all of Shonen Jump out Sunday afternoon—yes, including the tiny “unlicensed” series—as well as selected Jump Plus and Square titles, such as Blue Exorcist. This is day/date with Japan (it really is—don’t make me explain it again). It allows you to see obscure series you’d never expect over here, like theatre nerd series Curtains Up, I’m Off. And you can see the latest popular Jump chapters too, and marvel at how freaking awesome (and strong!) Uraraka was in the latest Academia, or the snugglepiles in the new Neverland. This is basically the app all of us have been waiting for, and it’s free! Go read it now. – Sean Gaffney
Murcielago, Vol. 9 | By Yoshimurakana | Yen Press – The first third of this volume wraps up the previous arc, and does it pretty well. It also gives us even more hints that Hinako is some sort of experimental child a la A Certain Magical Index‘s darker volumes. The majority of the book, though, is much lighter in tone, with Kuroko and Chiyo’s relationship resolved much faster than I expected (Chiyo admits she sort of likes Kuroko when she’s being… well, Kuroko), and also a beach episode that then segues into giant robots that destroy the apartment complex! It’s very silly and filled with large-breasted women acting cool, which is two of the things that people read Murcielago for, and has a an over the top lesbian sex scene with Kuroko and Chiyo, which is another. Fun. – Sean Gaffney
Now Loading…! | By Mikan Uji | Seven Seas – This is a new yuri series from Seven Seas, and given it’s also the final volume you know not to expect too much. It’s cute. It’s basically New Game if they actually went in that direction explicitly. We see a game company with a bright-eyed newbie and a game designer with a tragic past… well, OK, it’s not tragic, it’s just “reality happens, this is Gametown.” Sakurazuki ends up kissing Takagi at the end of the first chapter, and the rest of the book shows how they slowly talk about how and why that happened and maneuver their way into being a couple. There’s also a beta couple of two other employees, which is cute. This will make you smile, but you’ll likely forget what happens in a day. – Sean Gaffney
Spirit Circle, Vol. 6 | By Satoshi Mizukami | Seven Seas – This final volume wraps up the Fortuna life, which is as terrible as possible, and then heads back to the present, where unfortunately Fortuna has hijacked Fuuta’s body. Things are not looking good for this not ending in death. But then a tragic prediction ends up going horribly… not tragic at all, and the day is saved by a butterfly net that the alien couple gave our heroes, which is a sentence that only makes sense if you’ve read this series. Kouko theoretically gives Fuuta a final kiss and then leaves him to Nono, but let’s face it, given those last wishes from Rune and East, we know what’s really going to happen. This was an awesome series, just the right length—just like the author’s prior series, in fact. – Sean Gaffney
The Voynich Hotel, Vol. 3 | By Douman Seiman | Seven Seas – The series continues to veer between terribly silly, terribly dark, and somewhat nauseating. There’s a sense of everything coming to a head here, and that’s the case, but honestly I was struck by how many more people survived than I was expecting. This is probably as close to a happy ending as The Voynich Hotel was going to get, and there’s potential in both the adventures of the now adult detective gang as well as Elena (who I keep thinking of as Maria because she looks just like Maria in Zetsubou-sensei) and Tarou ending up as a couple and opening up to one another. Not for the faint of heart, but if you like weird and heartwarming, this is a good series to check out. – Sean Gaffney
Yuri Is My Job!, Vol. 1 | By miman | Kodansha Comics – I’m very happy that Kodansha has begun licensing yuri titles (or, yuri-adjacent, at least), but I really wish they’d started with anything other than this. Hime Shiraki is a cute first-year high school student who has cultivated an angelic façade in order to snag a billionaire husband. But aside from her looks, she has nothing going for her, so when she’s manipulated into helping out at a café where the waitresses pretend to be prim and proper ladies from an all-girls private school, she proves largely incompetent. What’s worse (and supremely frustrating) is that she fails to comprehend that anyone other than her might be putting on an act, so when a coworker speaks harshly to her in private but gently in front of customers, she is utterly baffled. Honestly, it’s just bad. I liked no one and it was a chore to make it through a single volume. – Michelle Smith
Olivia saysFebruary 7, 2019 at 12:59 pm
“…and marvel at how freaking awesome (and strong!) Uraraka was in the latest Academia, or the snugglepiles in the new Neverland.”
Well, you managed to combine two of my greatest weaknesses (Uraraka and snugglepiles) into one sentence, so consider me sold. I only just found out about Viz’s new Jump subscription that actually lets you read the full backlog, and I’ve been considering that as well—at least until I’m caught up enough that my CR Premium subscription can take over.
Speaking of which, Crunchyroll has the entirety of Spirit Circle! So far I’m only a chapter in and the pacing is crazy, but in a mostly enjoyable way where I’m sure I’ll like being pulled along once I understand what’s going on.