Sean is our hero as he shoulders the burden of this column solo.
D-Frag!, Vol. 15 | By Tomoya Haruno | Seven Seas – This manga is here for romance and jokes, but the jokes are so prevalent that the romance tends to fall by the wayside. Technically there are a bunch of girls who have fallen for Kazuma, but honestly, in reality he and Takao seem to have the only relationship with actual sexual chemistry. This is especially helped by a wacky sequence where Kazuma has to dress up as a girl to avoid Takao’s protective father, and ends up being quite a believable one. Takao has now finally left Kazuma’s house (minus one bra, which becomes another running gag), but the others are still there, despite the meteor preventing them from moving back home being taken care of by the power of EEL. Deeply silly. – Sean Gaffney
The Dangers in My Heart, Vol. 1 | By Norio Sakurai | Seven Seas – This bizarre little comedy was not quite what I was expecting. Our “hero,” Kyotaro, is a wannabe edgelord who keeps narrating inside his head and dreams of killing his classmates… except no, he doesn’t, as he’s far too much of a wuss to do anything. He has a repressed crush on Anna, the “best girl” in class, who is not only popular but also turns out to be a model on the side. That said, as he and the reader slowly realize, Anna is… strange. Stranger than she likes to let on, really. What ensues are a series of short chapters where he tries to stop the other horny teens in his class from sexually harassing the girls, while also watching Anna break her stereotype. Not sure if recommended? It was OK. – Sean Gaffney
Horimiya, Vol. 15 | By Hero and Daisuke Hagiwara | Yen Press – We’re nearing the end of the manga at last, after the misstep that was the anime (not a disaster, but not as well-received as hoped). The anime helped highlight the manga’s main flaw, which is that it absolutely will not let Hori’s temper and tendency to hit Miyamura go away, and it continues to walk a fine line between “it’s funny in a Looney Tunes way” and “this is abusive behavior and I, the author know it,” with a side of “they know they’re into S&M so it’s OK.” It feels weird, frankly. Yuki and Tooru are still the secondary not-quite-a-couple, but frustratingly, that’s all they seem to be. And of course there’s the focus on endless minor characters I can’t remember. This is still a mess, but it’s almost over. – Sean Gaffney
Love at Fourteen, Vol. 10 | By Fuka Mizutani | Yen Press – Do you love age-gap romance? Or romance that looks like age-gap romance? Then this is the manga for you… at least when it’s not focusing on its main couple, who continue to be the main reason to keep reading it. We’re not walking back the moving away yet, and it’s really hitting them both hard, to the point where they do a “day trip” to talk about how far away it will be. There is talk of them having sex (which they are quick to point out is legal between two fourteen-year-olds in Japan), but neither one has knowledge beyond rudimentary, so they back off to research it. Frankly, it’s too soon. As for the others, well, they are what they are. I do like the sad lesbian helping out her next-gen equivalent, though. – Sean Gaffney
Ran the Peerless Beauty, Vol. 9 | By Ammitsu | Kodansha Comics (digital only) – Resolving the cliffhanger from the last volume turns out to go exactly the way every reader thought it would. Ran is taken away by her dad and there’s a bit of “you can’t see him again” going on. It’s all mainly because her dad is sad that his little girl is growing up. Akira manages to win the dad over by basically being his usual self, and in the end Ran agrees not to have any sex before marriage, because … well, because they’re so pure, really. That said, we’re only a volume away from the finale, so it’s time for one last little wrinkle from Ran’s past to show up and stress everyone out. If you miss Kimi ni Todoke and wish you could read more of it only with even more innocent leads, this is the manga for you. – Sean Gaffney
We’re New at This, Vol. 8 | By Ren Kawahara | Kodansha Comics (digital only) – Turns out that Ikuma being a salaryman is not that big a shift from Ikuma being a contract worker, though it does mean he has to go out with his boss and get drunk more often (a staple of Japanese corporate culture, and I’ve never liked it). Fortunately, while he and Sumika still sometimes have trouble communicating their needs and desires, they still communicate better than 90% of the other married couples in manga. That said, things end with a fight here, as Ikuma’s womanizing friend has finally met a nice girl, and Ikuma and Sumika differ on whether this is a good thing or not. Their fight will probably spill into book nine, though given the cliffhanger I’m guessing Ikuma is correct here. Sweet fun. – Sean Gaffney
The Whole of Humanity Has Gone Yuri Except for Me | By Hiroki Haruse | Yen Press – This two-volume series is out here in one omnibus, and that seems to be the correct decision, because I doubt this premise could sustain a long series. A high school girl wakes up one day to find everyone in the world is now a woman, and always has been. She’s in a parallel world… and she’s straight! Or is she? If that premise makes you go “heck yeah!,” you’ll be fine with this SF series, as she and her seemingly aloof, secretly disaster lesbian schoolmate try to figure out what happened and if she can return to her own world. If you saw the premise and sighed, it’s not going to magically be any different than what you’d expect. – Sean Gaffney