What is it about Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku that keeps drawing me back? So far I’ve probably watched the anime about three times now all the way through. I’ve also picked up all three US volumes (6 Japanese volumes) of the manga and have read through all of those at least twice. I’ve reviewed the anime before on this blog, and I stick by my assessment that it’s a genuinely great series about nerdy people falling in love. It’s an anime I think we really needed with its energy, comedy, and healthy older relationships. So after the anime ended I felt the need to pick up the manga and see what other content there was, and I have to say that the anime is a fairly faithful adaptation with some minor changes to pacing and story. Like a lot of other adaptations, there are advantages to each medium whether it be animation or comics, and I find myself enjoying both the anime and the manga almost equally. However, there are a few notable differences between the two that I’d like to touch on more below. Continue reading
The Delinquent Housewife was something I picked up on a whim when I was out picking up some manga that had just come out. It was new, so far there is only one volume published in the US, and the artwork seemed interesting enough, so I thought why not. I had a feeling that the content might not be that great since from the title and the back-cover copy, the story was going to follow a woman learning how to become a housewife, but I was willing to try considering it seemed perfect for the blog. In some ways I was right, and in other ways I found myself strangely enjoying this manga. Nemu Yoko has a great art style that gives the manga a great feel with some traditional shoujo styling and some great work on expressions. The story itself uses some traditional and semi-annoying plot devices and character tropes, but looking at it through the lens of comedy, I did find myself enjoying it as like a fluffy, sit-com read.
The story follows ex-biker gang member Komugi and her husband-to-be Tohru Komukai who have just decided to move back in with his family until they can look for a place of their own. Or that was the plan until Tohru gets called away on a business trip overseas, leaving Komugi stranded at her in-laws place. While Komugi appears to be an ideal housewife, the real truth is that she can’t do anything without Tohru. She doesn’t know how to do her own laundry, fry an egg, or do any sort of housework. The only person to catch on to both her secret past as a biker gang member and her inability to perform housework is her brother-in-law Dai. But it won’t be long until the rest of the family finds out, so Tohru enlists Dai and her biker gang buddies’ help to learn how to be a housewife before that time comes. Continue reading
I’m approaching 30 and am two years out from getting married, so it’s safe to say that I’m not really the target audience for Tokyo Tarareba Girls, but I do feel like I know enough people like the women in this manga to feel a connection to their story. They’re thirty year old women who have been told over and over again by society that they might as well be washed-up has-beens if they’re not married and living comfortably by now. This manga is simultaneously a depressing and entertaining look at how society–Japanese society in particular–enforces ideals of marriage, success, and love on women throughout their lives while setting an arbitrary cut-off date for these things at 30 years old. Akiko Higashimura continues to use a sharp sense of wit, a dynamic art style, and a keen understanding of society to create a truly entertaining manga for thirty-somethings and those of us approaching that arbitrary milestone age.
Volume two of Tokyo Tarareba Girls picks up right where volume one left off, with the fallout over Rinko drunkenly sleeping with the famous model Key. After finding herself alone the morning after, Rinko heads back home by herself feeling like it’s becoming ever more apparent she’s going to be alone for the rest of her life. Meanwhile, her friends Kaori and Koyuki are feeling like they’ve found a small bit of bliss while hooking up with a married man and an unavailable ex-boyfriend respectively. However, even these two begin to see that sex isn’t everything and the same old “what-if’s” begin to pop up again as they all have to face up against younger and fitter women. Continue reading
A couple months ago I posted on Twitter asking for opinions on what manga I should buy if I could only buy one volume, and this manga, Water Dragon’s Bride, was one of the suggestions I got. I’ve been trying to branch out from some of the longer running series I’ve been reading, trying out new stories and manga that look interesting, so I figured why not give this one a shot. I honestly wasn’t sure what my opinion of the story might be going in, but I was a little worried that I probably wouldn’t like this one or that it would have some problematic age-related romance in it that I usually steer clear of. And in some ways this manga surprised me, but in others it also confused me. I can see the appeal of the story and what the mangaka might have been going for in this first volume, but in all honesty, I’m not sure this manga is for me.
The Water Dragon’s Bride is a shoujo manga created by mangaka Rei Toma who has also created Dawn of Arcana. It’s a story about a young girl who is completely spoiled by her parents that gets transported to another world through a small pond in her backyard. The girl, Asahi, has no idea where she is and everything and everyone in this world is so strange and old-fashioned, totally different from the bustle of modern Tokyo she just left. She soon meets a young boy named Subaru who offers to shelter her while they look for a way to get her back to her parents. But Asahi’s strange clothes and way of speaking scare the other members of his village, and they begin to think that maybe she would be a suitable sacrifice to the god that lives in the lake. Continue reading
No matter how much I grumble about the price of a volume of this manga (17 USD), I will always enjoy picking it up and reading on with the story. The price really is worth it. For a hardcover edition, larger pages, and great quality art, I really shouldn’t be grumbling too much. Not to mention that the series is finally getting an ebook edition that just might be cheaper, so if you like to read manga digitally more than in print, this is your chance to pick up one of my top 10 favorite mangas. Whenever I get around to reviewing my top 5 lists that I did a year or two ago, I might just add this one up there. You can feel the just vast amount of work and dedication Kaoru Mori put into this series through her intricately detailed art and in-depth historical knowledge of the setting and cultures she’s depicting. It creates this great cross-over of enjoyment for me between my history buff side and artistic side, providing a great well-rounded series I can really sink my teeth into.
The plot of each volume of A Bride’s Story follows one or two different potential brides through their lives and troubles as they try to find a marriage partner. For this volume we have Talas, a five-time widow who now lives alone with her mother on the land left to her by her husband’s family. The potential groom in this case is Mr. Smith as he continues on his journey back to England. At the start of the volume, we see him arrive at the meeting point where he is supposed to pick up his guide to Ankara, but due to some unforeseen circumstances (like his bags being stolen and his guide nowhere in sight), Mr. Smith is invited to stay with Talas and her mother until it is time for him to leave. Continue reading
Skip Beat never ceases to pull me back over and over again. It’s been awhile since we last took a deep dive into the manga, and I was definitely starting to feel that pull to read it again. Each time I pick up a volume I’m reminded why this series is on my top manga of all time list. One of the things I love so much about this series is how much time Yoshiki Nakamura takes to explore the backgrounds and weaknesses of each character, even the smaller ones. In these three volumes alone, we get an exploration of Ren’s big weakness in acting, the growth of Kyoko as an actor, the origins of the director’s mental illness, and a lot more. The romance is real in these volumes too with a some big revelations and explorations of what it means to fall in love with someone. Every volume feels like a journey where we get to see the characters grow and change fully, with us reading along every step of the way.
Volumes 10-12 continue where the story left off last time with one of the biggest and most important arcs for the series: the Dark Moon drama arc. Kyoko has been scouted for one of the most important roles in an upcoming remake of a popular drama. It’s not only a chance for her to have a big break, but also a chance to costar alongside Ren who will be playing the starring role. The only problem, the president of LME has recommended Ren turn down the role, citing a weakness in Ren’s ability to act in deep romance dramas. As Kyoko succeeds in creating her character of Mio that is sure to surpass the original, Ren struggles to understand what it means to love someone. Continue reading
Polar Bear in Love was a recent pick-up from one of my recent comic book runs. I’ve seen it pop up on twitter before, and apparently there’s a collection of online-only anime shorts being created for it. All the more reason for me to pick up the manga and check out what all the fuss is about. Be prepared though, if you wind up deciding to pick this up, you’ll get hit with a wave of cute as soon as you open the manga. It’s something I would consider an all-ages manga since I haven’t seen anything yet that makes me think there will be any older-level content, but it does have an undercurrent of boys love since both main characters are male. I would definitely say the manga is entertaining and does lend itself well to short-form animations, but it also may be too lacking in substance to keep me hooked in the future.
The basis of the manga centers around a young polar bear and a baby seal, both male, who meet each other while the seal is waiting for his mother to come back up through hole in the ice. Despite being natural enemies, Polar Bear falls in love with Seal. It’s love at first sight, but Seal still can’t forget that he is Polar Bear’s favorite meal. Seal can’t escape from Polar Bears advances though, and winds up staying with the amorous bear at least until his mother comes back. Written and created by Koromo and originally published on Pixiv, the English manga release was picked up by Yen Press. Continue reading
Nearly 1 in 4 men and 1 in 7 women have yet to married in Japan by the age of 50 in 2015 according to the Japan Times. That’s a record 23.37% for men and 14.06% for women. It’s one of the biggest worries of the Japanese Government, the fact that young people aren’t marrying and having children, though it’s not like they have lost the desire to marry. Roughly 86% of male respondents and 89% of female respondents to a survey of 18 to 34 year-olds have reported a desire to get married at some point in life. There are a myriad of reasons why this discrepancy is there, but that isn’t what this post is about. This post is about a manga that draws on the discontent of older unmarried women to create something akin to a Japanese Sex and the City sit-com, using an equal level of parody and drama to create something truly interesting.
Set in 2014 right after the announcement that Tokyo would be hosting the 2020 Olympics, Tokyo Tarareba GIrls follows 33-year-old screenwriter Rinko who finds herself swept up in the fervor and excitement as Tokyo begins getting ready for the games. Unhappy with the fact that her career is starting to plateau and she can’t seem to find a reliable boyfriend, Rinko spends all her free time drinking with her girl friends at a bar, lamenting the fact that none of them will have boyfriends to watch the Olympics with. Determined to change this fact, Rinko makes it a goal to find a boyfriend of quality husband material by the time the 2020 Olympics roll around. Created by Akiko Higashimura, the magaka for Princess Jellyfish, the English translation was just recently published this year through Kodansha. Continue reading
Every Friday now I make a trip from work to the comic book store near my bus stop. I follow a bunch of manga publishers on twitter and will usually try and save the names of the ones that look interesting. So a month or two ago, this title popped up on my feed, and when I walked into the comic book store, I decided, what the heck I’ll pick up a copy for myself. The title obviously made this out to be a romance and the cover is appealing as well as the fact that it was going to have at least one shape-shifting wolf in it. I always hope that any chance I take on buying a certain manga will turn out well, and this one definitely looked at least promising enough to give the first volume a try. And I can say that after reading through it twice now that while it may not be a great romance, it is at least an entertaining one with some familiar feels to it.
That Wolf Boy is Mine follows the life of Komugi Kusunoki who is given the option of moving to Hokkaido from Tokyo to live with her dad after a particularly traumatic experience at her old school. On her first day in her new school, she happens to be placed in the seat next to one of the school’s most popular boys, Yu Ogami, whose easy-going personality and exclamation of “You smell good!” both draws her to him and makes her wary. But it’s when she finds Yu dozing under a tree that things start to get weird, because he appears to have furry ears and a tail. Once Yu realizes his secret is out, Komugi gets drawn into his world of shape-shifting animals that also means she’ll be spending time with the most popular boys in school. Continue reading
Welcome back to my read-through of Skip Beat, one of my favorite mangas of all time. If you haven’t read the previous reviews, please do so before reading on. These reviews will contain some spoilers, so if you haven’t read the manga, you might want to do that as well. Today, we’ll take a look at volumes 7-9, another great series of chapters that add a lot to the characters of Kyoko, Ren, Moko, and Sho. These characters weaknesses are on full display in these chapters with some great moments and major developments in story and relationships. It’s one of the things I love most about this series, the ways Nakamura explores her character’s weaknesses and how they overcome them in order to better themselves and their position in showbiz. Combined with our usual great art and page layouts, I really enjoyed these volumes. So let’s dive in and discuss what makes them so entertaining.
Shoujo Beat’s back-cover description goes like this: “Kyoko’s dreams are finally coming true! She’s landed a spot in Sho’s new video, and revenge is in sight! But vengeance isn’t as easy as she thought, and her rage starts to get in the way of her acting. When her performance catches the attention of some important people, Kyoko finds herself working with the terrifying Ren Tsuruga! Can she make it work, or will her growing fame be her downfall?!” So besides the plot with Sho’s promo video (and the obscene amount of exclamation points), we also get to see a story from Moko’s life as she runs into trouble with a new job in a drama, and see the beginning of the Tsukigomori arc as LME President Lory tries to prevent Ren from taking on his first role in a romantic drama. Continue reading