manga, Manga reviews

Review: She’s My Knight vol. 1

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Story and art: Saisou
Genre: Comedy, Romance, School
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Synopsis: Haruma Ichinose, 17, has been popular since he was born. So popular, in fact, that he figured no one could even come close…until he met Yuki Mogami. She’s tall, cool, collected, and totally makes him crazy. He may just be in love…but can he deal with falling for someone even more dashing than himself?
Publication date: 30th March 2021

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-copy of this manga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Ichinose is used to all the attention being on him; he’s been praised for his good looks his whole life. When he meets his classmate Yuki, he is instantly jealous due to the attention she gets, plus even worse, she’s taller than him!

The first volume of She’s My Knight does a good job of establishing the characters of Ichinose and Yuki and the dynamic between them. For characters who are both fawned over by their peers, that’s pretty much where their similarities end. Whilst Ichinose is fully aware of how attractive he is and of his charms, Yuki is totally oblivious, which only adds to Ichinose’s frustrations.

I’ve talked before about how I prefer manga with a continuous plot and story, over one where each chapter is a different vignette in itself. She’s My Knight is the latter, but actually, I think in this case it works. It’s not to say there’s no continuity throughout the manga, but each chapter is like a skit where Ichinose and Yuki are in a different situation, whether it’s a class play, or getting stuck together in a supply closet. Seeing the pair navigate these different situations is really amusing and makes for a lot of comedic moments.

The dynamic between Ichinose and Yuki is really fun, and commented on many times as Ichinose being the shoujou heroine and Yuki being the shoujou hero. It’s a fun, subverted story which has some really cute moments between its protagonists.

Whilst Ichinose and Yuki are entertaining and interesting characters, the same can’t be said for the supporting cast who are largely forgettable and add nothing to the stories. It’s a shame as the manga feels like it could really do with some more fleshed out characters to give it some depth and an extra layer, rather than the sole focus being on Ichinose and Yuki and their attractiveness.

She’s My Knight has a lot of promise and it will be interesting to see where it goes. I’d hope that there’ll be less uncertainty about the future of Ichinose and Yuki as a couple and more focus on them actually as an established couple, but we all know that ‘will they won’t they’ is a popular trope, so I won’t hold my breath!

3 stars

 

 

NetGalley requires users to rate on a star rating of 5, so I have adjusted my star ratings for any reviews for manga reviewed via NetGalley. Non-NetGalley reviews will remain out of 10.

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: June Recap

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Can you believe we’re halfway through the year? My challenges progress certainly can’t. So, how am I doing you ask? Terribly, I answer!

Watch 45 anime

June end total: 9

Anime progress is super slow, but I’m hoping now I’ve decided not to watch (or attempt to watch) so many seasonal shows, I can pick up the pace on this. I’m also looking ahead to Anime August, which is next month – crazy how time flies, I feel like I’ve been stuck in a time loop.

Read 50 complete manga

June end total: 2

Man, if I thought my progress on other challenges was slow, at least I’m actually getting somewhere with those unlike my manga reading goals. I just never seem to have time to sit down and read manga, but I know I’ve got to make time! I don’t think I’ll manage to hit this target by the end of the year but I still want to give it a good go.

Watch 30 films

June end total: 9

Watching both films of The Quiet Place means I’m up to 9 films now, which is probably 3 times the amount I watched through the entirety of 2020, so I’ll take this as a win. I need to get more into the habit of watching a film at the weekend, and then I’ll definitely hit this target!

Watch 30 anime films

June end total: 4

I didn’t watch any anime films in June, boo! I need to really get a move on with these!

Get 35 platinum trophies

June end total: 14

I have slowed up on the platinum trophies in the last few months, but I still added Angels of Death to my pile in June. I loved the anime so much so when I saw the game had come to PlayStation, I had to play it. I loved it all over again, and the anime was such a good adaptation. I’m still confident I’ll hit the 35 total for platinum trophies.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

June end total: 1

Look… I just… don’t have the time. At least I’ve started a game from my backlog – Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age, so at least I’m trying!

Play 12 Switch games

June end total: 1

It’s a miracle, I played a Switch game! I finished To The Moon for a review for Nintenpedia, a site I’m about to start reviewing for. I’m super excited for the opportunity to write more reviews, and get lots more out of my Switch so I’m hoping this number will go up dramatically by the end of the year!

Read 12 books

June end total: 6

I’ve finally got back on track with my reading! I finished the third book in the Percy Jackson series to bring my total this year up to 6 so far. I’ve moved onto the fourth book, and then there’s another to go! I’m really enjoying the series, and as I’ve said before, I really wish I had read it when I was younger as I would have totally loved it. As much as I am enjoying it, I am looking forward to moving onto reading something a bit less aimed at children.

manga, Manga reviews

Review: Blue Lock vol. 1

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Story and art: Story by Muneyuki Kaneshiro and Art by Yusuke Nomura
Genre: Shounen, Sport
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Synopsis: After a disastrous defeat at the 2018 World Cup, Japan’s team struggles to regroup. But what’s missing? An absolute Ace Striker, who can guide them to the win. The Japan Football Union is hell-bent on creating a striker who hungers for goals and thirsts for victory, and who can be the decisive instrument in turning around a losing match…and to do so, they’ve gathered 300 of Japan’s best and brightest youth players. Who will emerge to lead the team…and will they be able to out-muscle and out-ego everyone who stands in their way?
Publication date: 16th March 2021

blue lock

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-copy of this manga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Disappointed with the state of Japanese football, coach Jinpachi Ego decides to set up the Blue Lock programme. A prestigious programme, Blue Lock puts the top 300 youth strikers through their paces in an intense and hardcore training programme, aiming to separate the wheat from the chaff and ultimately end up crowning one player as the top striker in Japan.

Our protagonist is Yoichi Isagi, who is a well meaning striker on his high school football team. Yoichi costs his school a place in the national tournament due to his hesitation to take a shot at goal and his choice to pass to a teammate who then missed. Yoichi struggles to come to terms with the choice he made, and his whole mindset changes with regards to his feelings towards football. He’s always been very much a team player, but he starts to wonder if he should be more selfish when he’s playing and take the chances for himself.

Yoichi eventually gets recruited into Blue Lock, where playing alongside the best strikers in the world reinvigorates his love for football and makes him want to try as hard as he can to improve. Unfortunately, in comparison to his peers, Yoichi is really not all that. Ego’s vision for Blue Lock is very much to push the players as hard as he can, to breaking point. Everything in Blue Lock is based on rankings – what you eat, where you live, and how long you last in the programme. Yoichi finds himself in the bottom 11 ranked players fighting for his chance to be the best striker in Japan.

As a lifelong football fan, Blue Lock is really fun to read. There’s a lot of mentions to real life strikers which makes it really entertaining to compare the tactics and plot to real life occurrences. It’s also really interesting to see how the whole plot of the manga is to train the strikers in Blue Lock to only look out for themselves, and it’s basically the antithesis of any team game where the philosophy is very much based on playing as a team. The Blue Lock programme promotes the idea of ego and, what we’d call in the UK, glory hunting.

Blue Lock is a really interesting premise, and has a lot of potential. There are obviously a lot of potential rival characters for Yoichi to bounce off of, as well as a lot of self discovery ahead of him. Already in the few chapters of volume 1, Yoichi has come to realise that he’s perhaps not as weak as he believes himself to be.

It does feel like not a lot happens in this first volume of Blue Lock, but there’s a lot of set-up for onward plot and action. More and more characters are being introduced outside of the Blue Lock programme, and it’s interesting to see the perspective of outsiders on this very unyielding and unprecedented training programme as well as meeting the players who will undoubtedly make up the rest of the Japanese team with the Blue Lock graduates.

Whilst the first volume feels a little slow, Blue Lock shows a lot of promise, and one not to miss for fans of football.

3 stars

 

 

NetGalley requires users to rate on a star rating of 5, so I have adjusted my star ratings for any reviews for manga reviewed via NetGalley. Non-NetGalley reviews will remain out of 10.

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: April Recap

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I was panicking that I was so late with my April recap post, and when I went back to my blog to check something, I realised I didn’t even do a March one! Terrible. All the days are blending into one big blob and I can’t even tell what month it is anymore – if my birthday hadn’t been in April I think I wouldn’t have even realised how far through the year we are. So, apologise for no March update, here’s one to look back on the first third of the year!

Watch 45 anime

April end total: 6

Whilst my total shot up in March and April, I am still way behind on this challenge. Terrible progress is being made and I just don’t ever seem to have the time or inclination to sit down and watch anime. I hope this changes soon, as anime is one of my biggest passions but I don’t want to force it and end up hating it so I’m just sort of letting it go a bit!

Read 50 complete manga

April end total: 2

Absolutely terrible and this is looking less and less likely to be a reality as the year goes on. In addition to Haru’s Curse, I also finished reading That Wolf-Boy Is Mine.

Watch 30 films

April end total: 5

I’m up to 5 films on this challenge, not too bad considering a very slow start. I really need to pick up, much like uhhh…. every other challenge on my list.

Watch 30 anime films

April end total: 2

Good grief, progress is slow! I’ve had Anthem of the Heart out and sitting on my coffee table since New Years Day and I STILL haven’t watched it. But, I have watched the given movie, and Yes, No, Or Maybe?

Get 35 platinum trophies

April end total: 12

Doing suspiciously well at this challenge actually. Not only have I got 12 challenges as of April end, I also have many more in the works and lots of games downloaded and ready to go. I’m quietly confident on this one.

Clear 30 games from my backlog

April end total: 1

God, I am so slow at playing games these days! I finished Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy back in March after having it in my backlog for a good couple of years. I really enjoyed it, and I’m looking forward to when the next lot of Phoenix Wright games come to consoles!

Play 12 Switch games

April end total: 0

Still can’t believe I haven’t even finished a Switch game this year, terrible!

Read 12 books

April end total: 3

It took me what felt like an age to read my third book – The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford. It’s not that I didn’t like it necessarily, it just felt very average and didn’t grip me. I’m one book behind at the moment, but I’ve moved onto the Percy Jackson series which I’m really enjoying so I’m hoping that I’ll claw it back on this challenge.

manga, Manga reviews

Review: A Sign of Affection vol. 1

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Story and art: suu Morishita
Genre: Romance, Shoujo
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Synopsis: Yuki, who’s always been deaf, is used to communicating with sign language and her phone. But she’s not used to English, so when a tourist from overseas asks for directions, she nearly panics…until a handsome stranger steps in to help. His name is Itsuomi, and it turns out he’s a friend of a friend. A charismatic globetrotter, Itsuomi speaks three languages, but he’s never had a deaf friend. The two feel drawn to each other and plan a date on a romantic winter’s night…but Yuki’s friend is afraid that she might be setting herself up to get hurt. Could this be something real? Or will these feelings melt away with the snow?
Publication date: 23rd February 2021

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-copy of this manga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Protagonist Yuki is deaf, and struggles her way through a hearing world. When a foreign stranger asks her for directions on the train, she panics and a nearby Itsuomi steps in to assist. Yuki is pretty entranced from the get go, and discovers that her path crosses with Itsuomi’s a lot more than she anticipated.

Yuki thinks a lot about how she wants her relationship with Itsuomi to be defined, and what love means to her. She has a few close friends, a girl named Rin who she goes to college with and her male childhood friend named Oushi. Other than Yuki, Oushi is the only other person who can speak sign language.

Itsuomi is the polar opposite of Yuki. Whereas Yuki seems content with her small world, and has resigned herself to the fact there’s a lot she can’t do, Itsuomi throws himself into experience after experience. It’s introduced early on that he has a passion for travelling and learning languages. Over the course of just the first volume through her blossoming relationship with Itsuomi it occurs to Yuki that the world is a lot bigger than she realises and she starts to yearn for more experiences, which is really sweet to see as Yuki accepts she can have the same experiences as everyone else.

Yuki is also a very sweet and seemingly naive girl, where Itsuomi comes across at least initially as a bit of a playboy. As a reader there’s a real urge to want to protect Yuki, and make sure Itsuomi is legitimate and not messing with her feelings, which I think is a real testament to how well the characters in A Sign of Affection are written that after only a few chapters of the first volume, I cared that much about Yuki.

It would be remiss to talk about A Sign of Affection and not mention the portrayal of deafness throughout the manga. As someone who is losing their hearing, a lot of the challenges Yuki faces are things I’ve thought about and considered for down the road in my own life. Though I am losing my hearing, I am not deaf by any means, and I don’t currently use any hearing aids. That said, I think Yuki’s deafness is portrayed really well. Different fonts are used for conversations Yuki is lipreading, and the sign language is really nicely illustrated as well.

This first volume of A Sign of Affection is a charming beginning to the start of Yuki’s story. There’s a lot of potential for drama, and the wonderful characterisation throughout the manga has you really rooting for Yuki and hoping she succeeds in all of her pursuits. 5 stars

 

NetGalley requires users to rate on a star rating of 5, so I have adjusted my star ratings for any reviews for manga reviewed via NetGalley. Non-NetGalley reviews will remain out of 10.

2021 challenges, Challenges

2021 Challenges: February Recap

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February was a significantly better month than January, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. I still have that sinking feeling that my challenges are really optimistic, but I’m still going to give it my best shot. Here’s where I’m at on my challenges as of the end of February!

Watch 45 anime

February end total: 1

My anime watching in 2021 has been abysmal. I definitely took on too many seasonal shows, and everything else has suffered as a result. I’d like to say I’m up-to-date on the seasonal stuff too, but that would be a colossal lie. Anyway, I have managed to watch Blood Lad (review pending), so at least I’ve got one under the belt!

Read 50 complete manga

February end total: 1

It felt like in 2020 all I did was read manga, but 2021 is not proving the same. I’ve read one complete manga – Haru’s Curse. I’m definitely going to up this, but I’m focusing on reading novels for now whilst I seem to be in the swing of reading.

Watch 30 films

February end total: 1

I cannot believe I haven’t watched any more films so far! I still only have Jojo Rabbit on my list!

Watch 30 anime films

February end total: 0

Unbelievable and embarrassing.

Get 35 platinum trophies

February end total: 4

I had a much better month for platinum trophies in February than I did in January. I picked up a few cheap indie games in the current PSN sale, which proved very quick to get. On the list for platinum trophies obtained in February are We Were Here, Road Bustle, Chickens on the Road, and JigSaw Abundance. 

Clear 30 games from my backlog

February end total: 0

I am very much working on this, but games take a long time, you know?

Play 12 Switch games

February end total: 0

I am also working on this, but there’s only so much time in a day!

Read 12 books

February end total: 2

I felt like in February I got back into my reading groove – I read The Last and The Poppy War. I also started reading another book, but it’s still ongoing. My aim is to smash this target early, and then free up myself to work on other challenges.

manga, Manga reviews

Review: Those Not-So-Sweet Boys vol. 1

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Story and art: Yoko Nogiri
Genre: Romance, School, Shoujo
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Synopsis: Midori drops her wallet on her first day of high school, but her new classmate Ichijo swoops in to help. She wants to thank him, but he’s part of a tight-knit trio and none of them are ever in class! Rumour has it that they all got expelled for acting up, and studious Midori’s actually at risk of expulsion, too… In order to help support her family, she has a part-time job, which is against the school rules. When the chairman of the school board catches her leaving work, he says he’ll let it go—but only if she’s up to the task of bringing the three boys back to school. Well, why not? It’ll be a piece of cake…right?
Publication date: 16th February 2021

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-copy of this manga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Midori Nanami is your typical shoujo protagonist. She’s sweet, well-meaning and kind of an airhead. On her first day of high school, Midori drops her wallet with her family’s weekly food budget in, only for it to be reclaimed by one of her new classmates, Ichijo. Ichijo and his two friends Ieiri and Goshima keep themselves to themselves, and there are tonnes of rumours swirling round school about them, some true and some not so much. When Midori is caught coming out of her part-time job, the highschool chairman strikes her a deal – get Ichijo and co. to attend school regularly, and he’ll help her find a school-sanctioned job.

I’ve read the mangaka’s other work, Love in Focus and That Wolf-Boy Is Mine!, and Those Not-So Sweet Boys does bear some similarities. This is more obvious with That Wolf-Boy Is Mine! with the inclusion of a group of boys that the protagonist gets close to, some more willingly than others. Those Not-So Sweet Boys isn’t a cut and copy though – for one thing, none of the boys can change into animals, or haven’t done yet anyway! The mangaka’s previous two manga feature wonderful characterisation and deep relationships, and Those Not-So Sweet Boys is no different.

Whilst it certainly feels that Ichijo is being set up to be the canon romance, Ieiri and Goshima are also awarded the same development. Whilst the opening volume admittedly focuses on Ichijo primarily, there’s a lot introduced which will open up Ieiri and Goshima in future volumes, making it more difficult for the reader to decide who to root for.

The title of the manga is an interesting one to me, as none of the boys seem particularly ‘not-so sweet’. Once you know a little about their backstories, they all seem to have their reasons for wanting to isolate themselves, and whilst they act a little distant towards Midori, none of them are outwardly cruel to her.

Midori is very aware of the effect the boys have on her early on, which is interesting to see, as normally it takes shoujo protagonists a long time to realise they have feelings for anyone. I hope that future volumes focus on Midori understanding her feelings, rather than rejecting them, and there’s certainly a lot of promise for romance in Midori’s near future.

Volume 1 of Those Not-So Sweet Boys was a great introduction to the story. It made me really care about all of the characters, and I look forward to continuing the manga in the future. Those Not-So Sweet Boys offers the perfect blend of romance, drama and comedy, and was a joy to read.

4 stars

 

 

NetGalley requires users to rate on a star rating of 5, so I have adjusted my star ratings for any reviews for manga reviewed via NetGalley. Non-NetGalley reviews will remain out of 10.

manga, Manga reviews

Review: Star-Crossed!! vol. 1

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Story and art: Junko
Genre: Comedy, Romance, Shoujo, Supernatural
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Synopsis: Has a concert ever changed your life? Azusa adores Chika-kun, the cutest and most popular star in the idol group Prince 4 U, and she’s thrilled to get front-row seats to his latest show. She would do anything for him. So when a stage light falls, Azusa leaps onstage and…fails to save Chika’s life. The two are off to heaven, where God gives them a second chance—except a mixup resurrects Azusa in Chika’s body, and vice versa! What on Earth could be in store for this odd couple of pampered celeb and drooling fangirl?!
Publication date: 16th February 2021

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-copy of this manga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

High-schooler Asuza is obsessed with idol Chika, star of the band Prince 4 U. Her room is adorned with posters of him, she gets up at 4am to get in line for his concerts, and she makes her family watch television performances.

At the latest Prince 4 U concert, Asuza lucks out and manages to nab herself a front row seat – any fan’s dream come true. Disaster strikes when a light fitting falls on Chika, killing both him and Asuza who has leapt into action to save her idol. In heaven, God reveals this was an error by one of his staff and the pair shouldn’t be dead, so he sends them back to earth where they are accidentally switched into each other’s bodies.

Now, I love a good body swap comedy as much as the next person, but the first volume of Star-Crossed!! felt a bit flat. The body swapping happens really early on in the manga, and I think it would have benefitted from some more characterisation of Asuza and Chika to establish them as individuals before the body swap happened. All we as readers really know about them is that Asuza is a Chika fan-girl and Chika is an idol, we know nothing else. Other characters later comment that they’re acting strangely or addressing them in different ways, but we really only have their say so on this. I think some preamble would have been good so as a reader you could identify that Asuza and Chika were acting out of character without having to have it pointed out.

What sets Star-Crossed!! apart from other body swap stories is that Asuza and Chika swap back and forth several times. It seems God hasn’t quite got his powers down, and the pair are in their own bodies one moment, then each others the next. This makes for a fairly interesting concept, and does help to develop the personalities of each protagonist more and give you an insight into their true character and habits when they are in their own bodies. As mentioned before, I do think some of this sort of content would have been beneficial before the first body swap instance, but it does get into it eventually which is good.

As a first volume, Star-Crossed!! does a good job of setting up the plot for future volumes. It’s not particularly exciting on its own, but it does end on a cliffhanger of sorts which has made me want to continue reading, and I think there’s the potential for the series to be quite amusing and heartfelt. Though I didn’t find it riproaringly funny, I did chuckle along at times, and can definitely see how Asuza and Chika will be put into some funny situations in future which lends itself to some more laughs to be had.

3 stars

 

 

NetGalley requires users to rate on a star rating of 5, so I have adjusted my star ratings for any reviews for manga reviewed via NetGalley. Non-NetGalley reviews will remain out of 10.

manga, Manga reviews

Review: Haru’s Curse

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Story and art: Asuka Konishi
Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life, Psychological, Josei
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Synopsis: Natsumi’s little sister Haru was her whole world—and now she’s gone. After the funeral, Natsumi reluctantly agrees to date her sister’s fiancé Togo. But as their relationship develops with the passing seasons, Haru’s memory lingers over them like a curse.
Publication date: 16th February 2021

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-copy of this manga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Haru’s Curse is the story of Natsumi following the death of her sister, Haru. Natsumi believes that she will be cursed by Haru because following her funeral, she has started dating Haru’s fiancé, Togo. Natsumi agrees to date Togo on the condition that she wants him to only take her to places that he took Haru, so she can feel closer to Haru after her passing.

Though the manga starts with Haru’s funeral, there are a lot of flashbacks to events prior to the funeral which really help establish the relationships between Haru, Natsumi and Togo. I really liked the change between past and present day, and I felt it worked especially well to show the contrast between Togo and his relationship with each of the sisters.

Haru’s Curse is a very real and raw portrayal of death and grief. As a reader, you see a lot of Natsumi and Togo struggling with their own feelings about Haru’s death, as well as their extended families. Haru’s Curse doesn’t shy away from a serious subject matter, with many serious and often dark subject matters touched on, but in a very respectful way.

As expected, there are a lot of hurdles throughout Haru’s Curse. Not only do Natsumi and Togo have to wrestle with their own guilt and emotions surrounding Haru’s death, but there are also a lot of outside influences interfering in their relationship and

The characters of Natsumi and Togo feel incredibly nuanced, whilst also feeling very realistic. Natsumi is hardworking, excitable and cheerful, but to Togo she seems the total opposite. Togo, who comes from a prestigious family, has his whole life mapped out for him according to his family traditions and expectations. As Natsumi and Togo’s relationship develops, the reader beings to see the effect they each have on each other and how they each change as a result of their relationship.

What I really liked about Haru’s Curse is that characters actually talk to each other. I’ve read a lot of manga where miscommunication is key, or characters bottle things up, but in this there is none of that. This helps all of the characters feel a lot more like the adults they are meant to be, and also a lot more realistic – this is what real people do after all! Well… for the most part anyway.

There’s a lot to like about Haru’s Curse, and it poses really interesting questions about how to honour the dead and how to move on after the death of a loved one. Haru’s Curse does seem to go too far at times – I did feel like it could have been left that Natsumi and Haru’s relationship was just sisterly, but the manga edges slightly further this and Natsumi declares at points that she was in love with Haru. Fortunately, this isn’t really a main area of focus and you can easily move past it and focus on the many great parts of Haru’s Curse. 

4 stars

 

 

NetGalley requires users to rate on a star rating of 5, so I have adjusted my star ratings for any reviews for manga reviewed via NetGalley. Non-NetGalley reviews will remain out of 10.

 

manga, Manga reviews

Review: Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan vol. 1

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Story and art: Gaku Kuze
Genre: Comedy
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Synopsis: Uramichi is a 31-year-old host on a kids’ show who leads exercise routines and teaches life lessons colored by one main theme: Adulthood sucks. Alongside mascots played by a couple of bushy-tailed twentysomethings and a singing duo whose music embodies the notion of being kicked while you’re down, Uramichi wades through the misery of working life, one sardonic comment at a time.
Publication date: 8th December 2020

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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a free e-copy of this manga in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I’d seen screenshots of panels of Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan floating around the internet for a few months prior to getting my hands on this copy via NetGalley, and it instantly resonated with me. Uramichi Omota is a former gymnast who works as a host on a children’s television show, but he is the total antithesis of what you’d expect from someone in his position. He’s pessimistic and sarcastic, and probably one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever encountered.

What I really loved about Uramichi as a character is how matter of fact he is. He really tells it straight, even to the children appearing on his show. The children themselves are also extremely funny, and they’re like the antidote to Uramichi. They’re also very mature, and hearing the children say things which seem much older than their years is also very amusing.

Uramichi seems totally disillusioned with life, and so do his co-stars. I think this is really good to see and makes a great change from endlessly optimistic shounen protagonists, and as an older person (I’m actually the same age as Uramichi!), it makes the manga much more relatable to see someone who is dealing with everyday things but has become fed up with life – haven’t we all, especially in lockdown!

Uramichi manages to simultaneously be depressing and cynical, but at the same time the way he delivers his message and interacts with his co-stars is also whimsical and hilarious, so the tone of the manga manages to remain positive and upbeat despite the outlook of its characters.

Generally speaking, I’m not much of a fan of manga (or anime!) that are a series of skits or vignettes. I much prefer a good story arc, with a continuous plot. Whilst some chapters do reference back to other events, mostly Uramichi Oniisan spends a chapter on a different skit or event which are reasonably standalone. I feel like had it been more of a developing plot it would have given more chance for the comedy to escalate, but as it stands Uramichi Oniisan is still really funny and has plenty of laugh out loud moments.

By the end of the volume, some jokes do feel a bit well worn – things I was laughing heartily at at the beginning of the manga seemed a bit overdone the more things went on. That said, there are plenty of positive things going on to make Life Lessons with Uramichi Oniisan a really fun read.

4 stars

 

 

NetGalley requires users to rate on a star rating of 5, so I have adjusted my star ratings for any reviews for manga reviewed via NetGalley. Non-NetGalley reviews will remain out of 10.