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Oct 27, 2021
Hyakumanjou Labyrinth caught my attention on a yet another hidden gem hunt I conduct roughly once a season. I'm a big fan of works like Vincenzo Natali's Cube, Tsutomu Nihei's Blame!, and Kuu Tanaka's The Vertical World; I love weird physics-defying worlds, I love ontological mystery in science fiction, I love the feeling of existential dread coming from the dissonance between the real world and the bizarre laws governing whatever realms you see in works like this.

On a surface level, this manga seemed to have fit the bill. Indeed, the two main characters end up trapped in a weird labyrinthine building that resemble the garbage read more
Sep 16, 2021
Berserk (Manga) add (All reviews)
Preliminary
Honestly, this is not a review I wanted to write so soon, but I feel a sense of obligation to fulfill to a work that is dear to my heart and has affected me on such a deep emotional level.

Upon its creation, Berserk had immediately spearheaded the genre of dark fantasy and served as one of its most well-known and acclaimed representatives across all media. Meticulously crafted and greatly inspirational, it's been consistently ranked at the top of the lists of greats, gathering accolades all over the world for its story, themes, art, and characters. Even at this site, Berserk has consistently been the #1 read more
Apr 8, 2021
Shingeki no Kyojin, the story that ushered in a new era for the medium and firmly planted anime and manga into the mainstream, has ended. And while I'd love for it to have done so with a loud bang, the sound it produced with the final chapters was more akin to a wet fart.

But first, a little bit of context. The year is 2006, a 19 y.o. amateur manga artist Hajime Isayama submits a one-shot to everyone's favorite Japanese magazine, Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump. The one-shot contains horrible drawings of naked people that later become known as titans, exposing the embarrassing fact that the young read more
Apr 6, 2021
A boy is living in a strange world that stretches vertically, resembling an enormous pipe. The boy doesn't know what's above or below the level he resides on or what is outside the walls, how deep is the seemingly bottomless pit next to his dwelling, or how to scale down. But more than anything else, he wants to know. And as he's pondering these thoughts standing on its edge, an unconscious girl is seen falling down the pit from somewhere very far above.

Does he rush to catch her? No—instead, as he watches her vanish into the black abyss, he feels frustrated that she beat him read more
Jan 7, 2021
*CAUTION: Contains minor spoilers. Well, not like they matter.*

Remember The Promised Neverland? The manga that was promising in the beginning and did a lot of things right but then methodically squandered every remaining bit of its potential? Yeah, that one. I admit to it becoming a bit of a pet peeve of mine, as it is a textbook example of an awesome premise ruined by inept execution, and the continuous onslaught of supplemental TPN one-shots, short novels, and extra chapters mostly works to add insult to the injury rather than help remedy this situation. It could have been different if all this extra effort was read more
Aug 10, 2020
Act-age (Manga) add (All reviews)
Act-age was one of the most promising series in Weekly Shonen Jump throughout 2019 and 2020, and one of my personal favorites alongside One Piece and Chainsaw Man.

It really was a head-turner in many ways: a colorful, female-heavy cast, unconventional topic, plenty of quality character drama, unusual art, no forced romance or any sort of physical fights as a means to move the plot forward—and at the same time it dutifully adhered to the basics of the shonen sensibilities, such as rivalry and continuous progress on the path towards fulfilling a grand ambition. It was, to use a term coined in Bakuman, an excellent example read more
Jul 19, 2020
Haikyuu is a manga about volleyball. Very much so.

No, really: volleyball is the actual hero of this story, and the only one at that. The enormous cast of colorful, likable characters with all of their ambitions and rivalries are mere canvas for the author Haruichi Furudate to paint his limitless, unrelenting adoration for the sport. Former enemies become rivals, former rivals become teammates; the entire corpus of character dynamics is shown almost exclusively through the lens of their relation to volleyball. Consequently, characters who have none of such relation almost never even enter the frame—that's just how laser-focused Haikyuu is.

I could go on about how read more
Jun 14, 2020
*CAUTION: Contains minor spoilers. Skip to the last two paragraphs for the summary.*

It is really a twist of cruel irony that The Promised Neverland has lived up to its name in a way I did not expect it to: it continually PROMISED a clever, poignant story but NEVER followed it through. (I'm sorry I couldn't LAND this joke better.)

TPN became an object of hot discussion among the manga-reading crowd already after the first few chapters. For all the good reasons, too: it was, at the time, a competently done psychological thriller, something that Weekly Shonen Jump typically didn't feature, which immediately made it stand out read more
Mar 27, 2020
This short made my entire day. I went in completely blind, and it hit me like an earthquake. And then it hit me again when I started thinking about it, with continuous aftershocks the more I kept thinking about it. That's one telling sign of a good work of art.

In terms of both content and execution, the movie is exactly where it wants to be at any given moment. In the five short minutes of its runtime it takes you on a *wild* ride, building up tension that erupts in a massive pay-off that is both deeply emotional and viciously clever, but it never feels read more
Feb 7, 2020
Ah, yes. "Dr. Stone Reboob: Who's Byakuya, Again?"

Let me prepend the following by saying no manga is perfect, and the acclaimed Weekly Jump mainstay Dr. Stone is no exception. There's often the classic Jump contrivance ("this will go my way because I'm very determined, dattebayo!"), the omnipresent melodramatism, the use of hyped-up terms for completely unrelated concepts (e.g. calling a radio a "smartphone" just because that's the word modern kids learn first), the occasional out-of-character behavior, and sexualization of characters to an uncalled-for extent. Thankfully, these weaknesses are well-offset by Dr. Stone's numerous strengths.

Where the spin-off comes in is gathering pretty much all of the read more