Recent Reads in Manga

It’s been awhile since I’ve done something other than a review of manga. So I figured a bit of a reading list update was in order. I have done my best, despite manga Instagram’s constant introductions of new titles, to limit my spending. I still have a pretty stacked shelf of plan to read titles that I have yet to start, but time hasn’t been my friend. However! That doesn’t mean I haven’t gotten through some of them, so I’ll share my thoughts here.

Most importantly to me Whistle! W, the sequel to Whistle! concluded in May in it’s printed run. It’s bittersweet as I was really hoping for a much longer run, five volumes just isn’t enough for me! But, if sensei wasn’t feeling it anymore and the popularity wasn’t there… I can’t do much about it other then support my favorite mangaka. And I did so gladly buying every copy of the series first hand, and asking when it’d be in stock/delivered to my local bookstore. I did read the final volume. I didn’t bawl per say, as it isn’t a sad ending, I did tear up. It was happy tears since it’s something that happened, and I’m still a little sad to see it go. I do want to give Whistle! W a proper review, but I want to do a re-read of it first. So it’s in the forever coming pipeline.

I couldn’t be too sad though, as Higuchi-Sensei is far from being between projects; Dokushi -Blunt- got it’s first print volume out a few days later after Whistle! W‘s final volume came out. Considering that Dokushi has always seemed to be Sensei’s next big passion after Whistle!: I’m delighted at the new sequel series. The first volume spent no time rehashing, but just touched on a few key points, but brought in a fresh cast of characters and mysteries to solve. I have to admit, this is another volume I need to re-read because I skipped around a bit in the dialogue because I just needed to know what happened. Because I am so infatuated, as expected, I do want to give it a first volume impressions later on. Also, considering this was a doujinshi for awhile, I’m curious as to what if anything was changed when it got officially published. I’ve seen some of the volumes of the doujin version floating around so I might just have to snag those volumes to sate my own curiosity.

Awhile back, I did get my hands on the second volume of Tamiko to Visual Kei to. I did make a loose draft about the second volume for review, but considering it was the regurgitation about what I said about the first volume I decided to scrap that. There’s very little I could add without major spoilers either, so it wasn’t meant to be. It is progressing smoothly enough, but the gimmick and formula is a bit stale at points. I did poke around on twitter, and the artist mentioned last month on the 18th that with chapter 41; the series has ended. So perhaps that full review will be coming sooner then you think!

In the realm of just ‘meh’ was Helvetica. I picked the series up in full on a whim, and it showed a lot of promise. I actually really love the art and character style. Seeing a story of modern witches, of all ages and backgrounds with a found-family premise and in an interesting setting was really cool. However, Helvetica is so intentionally and excessively violent to female characters for no other reason then it can be, that any enjoyment I had was gone before I hit the 3rd volume. I get the historical accuracy of persecuting and burning witches. That was fine. But the logic behind the organization for doing so, and the sexual violence that was committed against captured witches was unnecessarily graphic and so poorly contextualized in the story that it caused me to put it down more then once. I really hope that Tsumugi Somei gets picked up as an artist by a better story writer because they are incredibly talented. I intended to do a full review of the series, but I think I said all I wanted to say here and I’ll leave it at that.

Last in the realm of recent reads was impulse buying at it’s finest, but not actually. I held off multiple times, but… I caved. Lucky timing too, since I read all I had of the series during my fever. I got to enjoy the treasure that is Jiisan Baasan Wakagaeru or Grandpa and Grandma are young again. It’s set in Aomori prefecture, so the dialogue can be a little difficult but after that, it’s so wholesome. The main duo, Shouzou and Ine have been together for 70 something years and just as in love as they were before. Having been able to turn back the clock, has only made them more adorable. I mean, it’s also funny as hell as their grandkids, and their own children all get a moment of ‘whoa what the hell happened and why are you both young and cool looking again?’. I think once the fourth volume comes out I’ll do a deeper dive into the series, but if you do get a chance to look at it I highly recommend it.

Of course, I do have a pile of other manga to get to including but not limited to Yakuza Lover volumes 1-4 in Japanese, and the tenth volume of Flying Witch. I’m hoping when my schedule eases up later then month that I’ll have some time to dig into those titles and a few more that have been my on my shelves for too long! When that time comes, either I’ll do another recently read round-up or a few more reviews will be on their way. Until then, I’d love to know what other people have been digging so be sure to let me know in the comments down below.

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