All Sean, all the time.
The Ancient Magus’ Bride, Vol. 13 | By Kore Yamazaki | Seven Seas – The series is still striking a good balance between, on the one hand, the world of magic and the supernatural, which is by its nature secretive, distrusting and filled with nasty murder and betrayals, as we see with Lucy’s backstory. And on the other hand we have Chise, who is not quite on the levels of a Tohru, but still tends to be kind to others and have them want to be kind right back to her. She also has connections the school does not know about, as when Lucy finds out that Chise and her brother Seth are far better connected than she expects. Elias is still there, but the “Bride” part of the story has faded into the background in this arc, and honestly I enjoy it better now. – Sean Gaffney
A Certain Scientific Accelerator, Vol. 11 | By Kazuma Kamachi and Arata Yamaji | Seven Seas – It’s become fairly clear that, while Index is a giant magic vs. fantasy battle novel with harem elements, and Railgun prides itself on its action and strong women, Accelerator’s spinoff is dedicated to the darkness, to try to see how horrifying we can get Academy City. As we see here, and indeed in previous volumes, there seems to be no bottom to the nefarious experiments on Academy students that are performed in the name of Science. And while Accelerator may still be calling himself a villain, he’s also making sure that other “experiments” that are suffering get rescued. Well, hopefully—the arc isn’t over yet, and a happy ending is not guaranteed. – Sean Gaffney
The Dark History of the Reincarnated Villainess, Vol. 1 | By Toka Akiharu | Yen Press – This falls into the ‘great idea, execution not so much’ bin. The premise is lights out—not only is our heroine the villainess, and doomed to be murdered… but it’s her own junior high story! What’s worse, she was at an age when “dark” was sexy, so the heroine is always threatened with rape, which she has to stop so as not to get killed. Unfortunately, the manga itself falls prey to Hakusensha Syndrome, which is when the art in a book is so busy and the textual asides so thick that it gets very messy. It was sort of nostalgic, as it reminded me of the old CMX/Tokyopop days, but this could have used a bit more room to breathe. – Sean Gaffney
Mama Akuma, Vol. 1 | By Kuzushiro | Yen Press – This was pretty much exactly what I wanted it to be when I first heard about the premise. A demon who takes pride in always filling every request is summoned… by a fourth-grader who wants him to be her mama. This is hard. He takes on the form of her late mother… no, not that. She wants him to fill the role of a mother, mostly as her dad is rarely home and her older brother is, well, a teenager. The reason it’s heartwarming to read is that, by dealing with her, the demon is gradually starting to realize that all the time he fulfilled those wishes of death and destruction, it was NOT what his clients really wanted. Now he can learn about humanity. And also bond with her family. Definitely reading more of this. – Sean Gaffney
Murcielago, Vol. 16 | By Yoshimurakana | Yen Press – Perhaps making up for the last volume, there are TWO scenes of lesbian sex in this volume, though Kuroko is not in either of them. She’s busy wrapping up the circus case, where the perpetrator is not all that much of a surprise, but there’s also a second antagonist who gets a bit more to do, and allows us to very briefly see behind Hinako’s mask… if it is a mask. We also get a funny chapter about chestnuts, which if nothing else tells you what ‘kernel’ in Japanese is a euphemism for. The series is still filled with blood, gore and nastiness, but I feel as it’s gone on Kuroko has become less evil and a lot more goofy. Which honestly I’m pretty OK with. Recommended for those who like violent lesbians. – Sean Gaffney
A Sign of Affection, Vol. 3 | By Suu Morishita | Kodansha Comics (digital only) – There’s a minimum of drama or angst in this series, but I don’t care, because it does sweet and adorable so well. The relationship between Yuki and Itsuomi finally becomes official in this volume… and yes, then he immediately leaves the country for a month or two, because that’s what he does. But she’s content to wait and send him sign language videos, and he is telling her what it’s like in Cambodia and the like. The lettering in this volume is also fantastic, occasionally reversing and getting bigger and smaller to show that Yuki is not quite able to make out with lip reading what others are saying. This is getting print soon, and quite right. It’s become one of my favorite shoujo series. – Sean Gaffney
Whisper Me a Love Song, Vol. 1 | By Eku Takeshima | Kodansha Comics – Well, this was cute as a button. Now that it’s no longer the only sort of yuri there is, I do like to dip into the occasional high school girls romance. Here we have Himari, who is cute, excitable, and prone to misstating things and Yori, whom she meets substituting for a band’s singer, who is seemingly more reserved. Himari immediately confesses to Yori, who is blown away and falls hard for Himari. There’s just one problem… Himari meant she loved Yori’s singing. Now Yori’s determined to make Himari realize Yori likes her romantically, but… that seems a high road to climb. This is pretty adorable, and doesn’t get as annoying as series like this can. Plus I love one of the bandmates, who has sleepy eyes, a weakness of mine. – Sean Gaffney