In which Sean solos yet again.
HIRAETH -The End of the Journey-, Vol. 1 | By Yuhki Kamatani | Kodansha Manga (digital only) – This does not end up being quite as depressing as the warning at the start might indicate, but the warning is appreciated, as this book starts with a young woman trying to kill herself, and her suicidal thoughts are present throughout the volume. She meets a god who is dying, and is taking a tour of Japan (and being a bit of a brat about it), as well as a man who CAN’T die, and on their journey we get a lot of different perspectives. That said, as always with this author, if you’re only here to look at the lush, gorgeous art, you will not be disappointed either—even the panel composition is amazing. It’s absolutely not for everyone, but if you liked Our Dreams at Dusk this is a must-read. – Sean Gaffney
The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, REALLY Love You, Vol. 2 | By Rikito Nakamura and Yukiko Nozawa | Ghost Ship We add two more girls in this volume, and really the impressive thing about it is not how he keeps managing to convince each girl to go along with this, but the fact that they really do almost all get along. Hell, some of them may get along a little too well—if for some reason he can’t actually marry 100 girls, and they don’t all die, Hakari and Karane may be able to make things work. As for the new girlfriends, we have the stoic and intellectual one, and the mad scientist who mostly looks like a child one, which is hilarious even if it toes the line of offensiveness. That said, that’s one nasty cliffhanger. – Sean Gaffney
My Next Life As a Villainess Side Story: Girls Patch | By Various Artists | Seven Seas – This anthology asks the question: don’t you wish Bakarina was a yuri series? (There was an equivalent for the guys, but don’t expect Seven Seas to license that anytime soon.) A lot of the Western audience for the series was more into Mary, Sophia and Maria than any of the actual love interests—and indeed have abandoned the series for the most part after realizing it’s veering too het. That said, while this doesn’t have any weddings or alternate universes where Katarina suddenly gets it, it has lots of sweet scenes between the quartet, as well as a brief one with Anne, which is not really shown as romantic so it’s fine. It’s an anthology, so variable, but is mostly perfectly pleasant. – Sean Gaffney
Run on Your New Legs, Vol. 1 | By Wataru Midori| Yen Press – For the most part this is a very good story about a former star athlete who lost a leg finding that he can still compete with the help of prosthetics, even if it’s not soccer (his former sport). That said, I could not help but spend much of the first half of this book feeling a bit creeped out by the way he was sort of stalked and manipulated by the guy who is designing said prosthetics, who turns out to basically be a start-up trying to drum up work. Consent is given, but it doesn’t feel earned, if you know what I mean. Other than that, this is a strong sports manga with lots of past trauma to overcome, a guy who is being forced to reopen his world to other people, and some nifty art. – Sean Gaffney
Teasing Master Takagi-san, Vol. 14 | By Soichiro Yamamoto | Yen Press – The question on my mind as I read this volume of Takagi-san is essentially: what is the difference between this and a normal couple who go on dates? Honestly, the answer may actually be “normal couples aren’t together quite as much as these two.” Here we see Nishikata challenging Takagi to guess the number of steps to a shrine, not realizing the shrine is a famous couples’ shrine, so everyone but him knows already. They eat lunch together, and she offers to feed him. They coincidentally do a New Year’s shrine visit together. And, in the best chapter, we see Takagi, briefly jealous after Nishikata helps another girl, actually picking on him. She does apologize. He can’t see the difference. – Sean Gaffney