Manga Discussion: Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry Blossom Pink

Kisses Sighs and Cherry Blossom PinkThis Milk Morinaga title is very reminiscent of her most famous work, Girl Friends, but Kisses, Sighs, and Cherry Blossom Pink manages to provide for an endearing girl-girl relationship that is just as good, while also showing a few other short yuri stories to give the work more perspective. If you are a fan of yuri, or like Morinaga’s other works, this is probably something you should check out, and because Seven Seas Entertainment has compiled the whole amalgam into one omnibus, the investment isn’t all the much for this title. This is a somewhat short and economical read that has a lot to offer for yuri fans, and if you’re a fan of romance, this might also convert you into a yuri fan as well. The character designs are unique, although it is very apparent that Morinaga is behind the pen, as the artstyle is identical to that of Girl Friends.  If you’re into yuri, pick this up and I’m sure you won’t regret it, and if you’re thinking you might want to get into yuri, this might not be a bad series to start off with since it isn’t all that long, though since you’re more likely to find discussion about the more popular work, I would say Girl Friends is a better place to start. This series though certainly contains a lot of value in a small package, and since there are other stories sprinkled throughout, you shouldn’t find the main story getting stale. Overall, this is a nice and solid yuri series that is well worth the investment.

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Manga Discussion: Solanin

SolaninSolanin is a great example of a series that really knows how to hit hard with its drama and atmosphere, while also keeping in touch with reality. Inio Asano has truly done a fantastic job in this short series of illustrating his points perfectly. He has incorporated every emotion into this timeless piece and made it truly something special. The hardships of becoming an adult, adapting to the world, and the constant contemplation of why you exist are key aspects of the story, which while depressing, always seems to imbue a sense of hope and optimism to whoever is reading. This is truly a fantastic story you do not want to miss out on, and one that really reflects the feelings a lot of people have towards the world and others around them, even if those emotions are subconscious at most. Understanding oneself and the world around is something everyone has to go through,  and I cannot give Asano enough credit when it comes to that very simple, yet powerful theme. I award this series a Certificate of Excellence, and the status of Must Read. I highly, highly encourage you to pick it up, especially since Viz Media gave this series such a high quality release. Please read this series! You won’t regret it!

Manga Discussion: Sankarea

SankareaIf you’re looking for a pretty standard shounen rom-com sort of series, then Sankarea might be something you want to check out; other than that though, it isn’t anything all that special. While the romance was at least something I was able to root for, this series didn’t really do anything out of the ordinary, nor did it really have anything interesting to say. The series fit very nicely with the other shounen series without doing all that much to innovate and so it isn’t anything all that exceptional. I wouldn’t go into this series expecting anything amazing, and if you’re not into shounens at all, I might tell you to shy away from this one. While I wouldn’t say the series was boring or unentertaining, I wouldn’t say it was anything more than just kind of okay; just managing to hold my interest enough to get me through the series in its entirety. If you’re a big fan of typical shounen romance stories though, you might thoroughly enjoy this series, unfortunately, I am not one of those types of people. I would really only recommend it to those who enjoy those series, and to people who think the premise (a guy with a fetish for zombies involved with a girl who happens to be one) is interesting, but other than that, you might wanna pass on this series. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that there are certainly better series out there, and so I give it a:

6 out of 10.

Also, I still have yet to receive a short manga recommendation from you guys, so if you’d like to hear a review of a series you just love, head over to this page and leave a comment. 🙂

Manga Discussion: Love in Hell

Love in HellA lot of potential with too short of a runtime; that’s how I feel about the series Love in Hell. This series had one of the most interesting worlds I’ve seen in a manga series, and while that may be because I haven’t read some of the larger and more well renowned series (Berserk and One Piece  to name a couple), compared to the anime I’ve watched (which is a lot) it still comes out near the top for having an interesting world. It not only has a great world that could have been explored so much, but the characters are also incredibly likable and interesting themselves. The dynamic between the two mains, Koyori and Rintaro is incredibly fascinating to watch. The series also had some very interesting character dynamics going on throughout the series, but due to the short length, they were never really explored in-depth. Unfortunately, this series only has a three-volume run, and while it does have an ending, I would have loved to explore not only the world, but the lives of the characters so much more. And while there is a second series that came out, after taking a few snapshots of it, it just doesn’t look the same. So, unfortunately, this series is just one that could have been great to me, and if it had maybe eight or ten volumes, would certainly have been up there for one of my favorites. With all that said, I still think this is a series you should check out, but sadly because of the series regrettably short length, I give it a:

7 out of 10.

Also, I still have yet to receive a short manga recommendation from you guys, so if you’d like to hear a review of a series you just love, head over to this page and leave a comment. 🙂

Manga Discussion: Inside Mari

Inside MariKeeping me on the edge of my seat the entire read through, Inside Mari was a fantastic and interesting ride. This series is a very unique take on identity, and to some extent, a study on the way people deal with the problems in their lives. While I can’t go into too much detail due to spoilers and the way the narrative flows, I can say that one of the main themes has to do with societal expectations of an individual; this is especially pointed out by the contrast between two of the characters of the story. The study on dealing with problems is also intermingled with that specific narrative, and only further emphasizes the first theme. This is a series I would highly recommend on the physiological aspect alone, and while I can’t really say why I say that without spoiling the series, it is something I can see just about anyone enjoying, even with the couple of annoyances the series has (such as how some of its sequences feel rather repetitive). This series is written by the same author as The Flowers of Evil, Shuuzou Oshimi, who also happens to be working on the currently ongoing series, Happiness; so if you like either of those, you might find yourself comfortable here as well (this series also had a similar feel to the works of Inio Asano, so if you like his writing this might be a perfect series for you). The ending of this series is very well done and incredibly well orchestrated from the beginning; he knew exactly where he wanted to go from the very beginning. As such, I consider this a series that you should certainly take a look at, especially if you’re in one of the groups I already mentioned. The gripping story, and beautifully written characters combine to make a fantastic series, even with its minor annoyances; and so, I would give it a:

9 out of 10.

Also, I still have yet to receive a short manga recommendation from you guys, so if you’d like to hear a review of a series you just love, head over to this page and leave a comment. 🙂

Manga Discussion: Boku Girl

Boku GirlAn interesting romance involving the relationships between a group of friends: Boku Girl does this in a comedic and different way. A fun gender-bender rom-com, this series is sort of long, and has some nice elements to it, but it also had some irksome moments as well, and the ending felt slightly rushed, but overall, the series was enjoyable to me. The relationships between the characters was nice to follow, and the ending, while rushed, still ended in a nice spot. One problem that the series faces however, is that it seems to feel repetitive after a while, and the progress seems to slow down considerably in the mid section, so if that’s something that bothers you, then you might not enjoy this series a  whole lot. Overall, I’d say it was an enjoyable read for me, but not something super special that I think I’ll re-read countless times in the future; it was just something that I read and felt satisfied after finishing. So, with that, I’d give this series a:

7 out of 10.

Manga Discussion: What a Wonderful World!

what-a-wonderful-worldWhat a Wonderful World is a short, 2 volume series told through various short stories of snip-its of people’s lives. A nice look at a lot of different perspectives, and it is very interesting to see all the ways that the characters are connected to each other. Each little story is like the beginning of  a much larger tale, but we only ever get to see that one little moment. While there are certainly a lot of themes going on in the series, I wasn’t able to pick up nearly that many of them, and I feel that it would take me several readings to finally come up with everything this series is about. The presentation of the story is very unique, and depending on how you see it, you might find it as a positive or a negative: because the stories themselves are so short, you never really get attached to the characters, not only that, but they aren’t fleshed out that much either, and it may find you feeling disconnected; however, because there are so many different stories and so many different perspectives, the world feels really big and alive, even with one of the narratives seeming to contradict that. The way everything connects is also an amazing feat of storytelling and truly excellent work by Inio Asano in the way he managed to pull it off. While the story might have a lot to say though, it is still incredibly complicated and hard to dissect, and that I feel is a rather large negative as it requires a lot from the reader in order to fully understand everything that is going on because everything’s moving quickly and each character only has the focus for a short amount of time. Overall though, I feel the series is a great read, and since it’s so short, you might as well. I give this series an:

8 out of 10.

Manga Discussion: Girl Friends

girl-friendsIf you want a series about a girl-girl relationship, then Girl Friends is certainly a series you want to check out. A nice series that shows a relationship grow between two friends (Mariko Kumakura and Akiko Oohashi) from one of friendship, to one of romance. It’s nice to see the gradual progression of the two main characters’ relationship throughout the series and always keeps you wanting to read more every time you finish a chapter. Since this series is almost entirely about the growth of the romantic relationship between its two main characters, it’s hard to talk about it without spoiling the series, but if you’re looking for a good read about a lesbian relationship, then you might wanna check this one out. My only real complaint about the series is that I feel it ended too soon, and I would have liked to see their romance progress just a little bit further, and possibly seen how it would play out in the characters’ adulthood, but the series is still good and strong without that. If anything, I’d like to see a sequel to see how things play out in the future, and that would make me quite happy to see. As for now, it’s a very nice and well done romance series that has some great characters, and a very gripping story;  I give it a:

9 out of 10.

Manga Discussion: A Girl on the Shore

a-girl-on-the-shoreShort and stark, A Girl on the Shore really hits hard with its narrative and characters. The series doesn’t try to make you feel good and you can just tell by looking at the frames that it isn’t a happy story at all. It isn’t often that I find a story as hard hitting as this one, and if you’re looking for a series that’ll make you think about some dark, and heavy stuff, this one will definitely do it for you. The two main characters are very fleshed out and you can really see the reasoning behind the things they do. The series almost never lets up on its drama, except for in the final chapter were I feel things fall apart. Up until about midway through the second-to-last chapter, I was thinking that this series was going to be a masterpiece, and one that was almost always great, but due to the awkwardness of the last chapter and the oddity that was the ending, I was left feeling disappointed instead of satisfied. While the series is still worth the read, and one  I would highly recommend, I still feel like it had more potential than what it ended up being. The series had the perfect length, fantastic characters, a phenomenal rhythm and beat, but just fell short of being something that would certainly be in everyone’s top 10 best manga of all time. Even though it has an ending that is a little lackluster, everything else about the series made me wanting more, and really allowed me to get into the minds of the characters just by the way they were drawn, and how they were acting. Inio Asano really crafted a fantastic story in there and drew everything to match the tone of the series, and boy, does it match; just by looking at the artwork you can tell exactly would the mood and tone of that moment is and it is wonderfully crafted. While just felling short of being a masterpiece, this is certainly not something you want to skip, and so I would give this series a:

9 out of 10.

Manga Discussion: The Gods Lie

the-gods-lieA solid premise with some really great concepts, but let down by its short length; that would be The Gods Lie for me. The underlying story of this single volume series is the relationship between the two main characters: Natsuru, a young up-in-coming soccer player; and Rio, a mysterious girl that seems to stand out from all the other kids. Upon Natsuru’s meeting with Rio, a chain of events begins and changes their lives forever… but the series isn’t long enough to be as impactful as it could have been. With the story being only 5 chapters inside a single volume, there’s very limited space to work with and because of that, the story feels very rushed a lot of the time and as a result of that, the drama can also feel forced at times because of a lack of fleshing out the main characters and the world they inhabit, not to mention the fact that the believability of the story is already a little low because I feel the characters are just slightly too young, being only in sixth grade. The story underneath, nevertheless, is very strong and the premises the story deals with are very well thought out and executed, and should certainly draw you in to the events that are unfolding. This series disappoints me more than anything because I feel that if given more pages, the series could have very well been something that I remember for a long time and been something that is amongst my favorites, but unfortunately, while not forgettable, is something that will sink to the bottom of my mental manga catalog; not being lost, but certainly something that’ll have to be brought to the surface. With those thoughts, I would give this series a:

7 out of 10.