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Sep 19, 2020
The first in the "Clamp School Trilogy", Man Of 20 Faces purports to be a phantom thief thriller, but it's actually a romance manga between two elementary schoolers. And for whatever reason, these children and their friends and family are fascinated with the philosophy of love. Characters will monologue for pages on end about what true love really means, with the youthful thievery only an afterthought.

This is all well and good, but the central ideas presented in this manga are just plain terrible. It screws up so badly that the very happy ending left me more cynical of love then when I started. Oops.


They didn't read more
Sep 14, 2020
Pretty much as soon as they made their debut, CLAMP launched an extensive shared manga universe revolving around an elite city-sized school campus shaped like a pentagram. Their Clamp School works don't seem to be fondly remembered these days, but I suppose they paved the way for the future Tsubasa/xxxHOLIC/Cardcaptor shared universe, which miraculously took off.

My opinion on Clamp School Detectives is that it sucks ass, so I went into Defenders with the minimum of expectations. It's still not *good*, but it's miles better. School Detectives is ostensibly a comedy, but it has a hard time landing even ten percent of its jokes. School read more
May 3, 2020
Like any reasonable person, I love vampires and lesbians and vampires who are lesbians. However, one of my more unique penchants is manga that starts off incredibly promising but goes off the rails in the last stretch, leaving me with both murky appreciation and disappointment. Let’s look at what went wrong here.

Vampiress Lord starts off strong with a hefty dose of worldbuilding. Our protagonist is turned into a vampire, but that’s okay, because this series defangs most of their mythical weaknesses and portrays them as once-ordinary people who have gotten a little weird with immortality. Her newfound curse actually a blessing, Yuunagi continues going to read more
Feb 25, 2019
My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness is, well, very clearly about being a lesbian and being lonely. My Solo Exchange Diary has a less straightforward title, but its theme still becomes apparent pretty quickly.

My Solo Exchange Diary is about your mom.

It’s about all the things you have to hide from her. It’s about trying to come to terms with how she raised you. It’s about trying and failing to escape her unceasing mental and physical gravity. It’s about looking for substitutes for her seemingly uncaring warmth. It’s about being a family disgrace in so many different ways.

Peppered throughout are the mangaka’s reflections on depression, motivation, separation, read more
Nov 21, 2018
Last month a very strange thing happened. I found myself reading, God forbid, a heterosexual manga. And on top of that, I found myself sincerely enjoying it too. So how did I even get into this position?

Well, it’s my love of Akiko Higashimura’s previous works that brought me to Tokyo Tarareba Girls. The cast consisting of women in their 30’s was the part that really intrigued me. It’s so rare to see mangas about people past high school and young adulthood, and especially ones from the perspective of working women. The closest other thing I can think of to this perspective is Turning Girls, the read more
Aug 19, 2018
After having a tough time getting into the series and having to restart a few times, I raced through the second half of Wandering Son in a single day. Now I’m just lying here in a haze, trying to collect myself into a human being again. I feel like this writeup is a necessary step in the process. Let’s do this.

Wandering Son, or Hourou Musuko, is a manga about the self. It's extremely introverted, with characters lost in thought, staying home from school, and mulling over their anxieties all the time. When a character makes a particularly bold decision, they’re often ridiculed and punished for read more
Jul 11, 2018
After seeing almost all of the Macross series, I’m here to say that Macross 7 is maybe the best one? I’m being completely serious, and I’ll try to explain some of why I found it so special.

BOMBER!! Let’s start with the music. SDF Macross was made to sell toys, and Macross 7 was made to sell CDs. To accomplish this, the show focuses on the band Fire Bomber, who have about a dozen insert songs in the show. At first these songs may seem tacky or repetitive, and it doesn’t help that the early episodes keep using the same two songs, but the soundtrack seriously read more
Jun 24, 2018
TL;DR it's bad. But if you want some convincing, here you go.

I was going to ignore Caligula entirely, until I heard that Tadashi Satomi was tangentially connected to the project. Satomi is a scenario designer who used to work at Atlus. He’s responsible for Persona 1 and the Persona 2 duology, which happen to be some of my favorite games. Caligula seems to be his current project, at least Caligula the game. That’s right, this show is a video game adaptation, which is never a good sign. Anyways, this show is particularly frustrating because for a while, it straddles the line between a flawed show read more
May 26, 2018
I’ve said in past reviews that the general societal conservatism of Japan makes it a fool’s errand to seek out good LGBT representation in media. Well, this manga proved me wonderfully wrong.

Shimanami Tasogare is a slice of life drama, but interestingly enough, the first chapter is framed almost as a mystery with some supernatural elements. These elements quickly fade once our protagonist, a gay high schooler who’s deathly afraid of being outed, discovers a tucked-away community of LGBT people. They come in all walks of life, from an middle schooler questioning their gender identity to an elderly gay couple. This should be a generally read more
Mar 7, 2018
Moyashimon is a manga about fermentation. Sounds weird, right? It’s hard to concisely pitch this manga, which is why I’m going the alternate route and just writing an epic. Moyashimon is a character-driven college slice of life about some students and their professor brewing sake and learning a LOT. Seriously, by finishing this manga, I feel like I’ve absorbed a whole semester’s worth of knowledge on microbes, alcohol, and the sake industry. I wonder if that was the intent and rationale behind the college setting? Anyways, the educational slant of this manga is really cool. The author, Masayuki Ishikawa, clearly knows his stuff and is read more